from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A will in which the signer requests not to be kept alive by medical life-support systems in the event of a terminal illness.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A document, made by a person when still legally fit to do so, expressing his desire to be allowed to die instead of being kept alive by artificial means, in the event of being severely disabled or suffering from a terminal illness.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- A document signed by an individual expressing his/her desire that, in the event of an illness from which there is no reasonable expectation of recovery, aggressive or extraordinary measures to prolong life, such as resuscitation and life-support equipment, should not be used.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. a document written by someone still legally capable requesting that he should be allowed to die if subsequently severely disabled or suffering terminal illness
Sorry, no etymologies found.
But to hear how my Lord Barkeley and others of them do cry up the discipline of the late times here, and in the former Dutch warr is strange, wishing with all their hearts that the business of religion were not so severely carried on as to discourage the sober people to come among us, and wishing that the same law and severity were used against drunkennesse as there was then, saying that our evil living will call the hand of God upon us again.