Death and Dying

These are the definitions for death listed at TheFreeDictionary, aggregated by Farlex, Inc. Farlex, Inc. provides free definitions online for almost everything.

The following text is a list of definitions of death, which are relevant to my main question (What is Death?). The differences in definitions was helpful in qualifying when death occurs, and what it means. It also gave insight into death symbolically as well was coloquially.




1. The act of dying; termination of life.
2. The state of being dead.
3. The cause of dying: Drugs were the death of him.
4. A manner of dying: a heroine’s death.
5. often Death A personification of the destroyer of life, usually represented as a skeleton holding a scythe.


a. Bloodshed; murder.
b. Execution.
7. Law Civil death.
8. The termination or extinction of something: the death of imperialism.


at death’s door

Near to death; gravely ill or injured.

be the death of

To distress or irritate to an intolerable degree.

death on

Opposed to or strict about: Our boss is death on casual dressing.

put to death

To execute.

to death

To an intolerable degree; extremely: worried to death.

to the death

Until one participant in a fight or struggle has died or been killed.

[Middle English deeth, from Old English dēath; see dheu- in Indo-European roots.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.




1. the permanent end of all functions of life in an organism or some of its cellular components
2. an instance of this: his death ended an era.
3. a murder or killing: he had five deaths on his conscience.
4. termination or destruction: the death of colonialism.
5. a state of affairs or an experience considered as terrible as death: your constant nagging will be the death of me.
6. a cause or source of death
7. (Art Terms) (usually capital) a personification of death, usually a skeleton or an old man holding a scythe


a. to death to the death until dead: bleed to death; a fight to the death.
b. to death excessively: bored to death.
9. (Medicine) at death’s door likely to die soon
10. (Medicine) catch one’s death catch one’s death of cold informal to contract a severe cold

11. do to death

a. to kill
b. to overuse (a joke, etc) so that it no longer has any effect
12. (Hunting) present when an animal that is being hunted is caught and killed
13. present at the finish or climax
14. (Medicine) like death warmed up informal very ill
15. like grim death as if afraid for one’s life
16. (Law) put to death to kill deliberately or execute
[Old English dēath; related to Old High German tōd death, Gothic dauthus]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014




1. the act of dying; the end of life. Compare brain death.
2. the state of being dead.
3. extinction; destruction.
4. (usu. cap.) the agent of death personified, usu. represented as the Grim Reaper.
5. loss or absence of spiritual life.
6. massacre; mayhem.
7. a cause of death: You’ll be the death of me yet!


1. at death’s door, in serious danger of dying; gravely ill.
2. do to death, to do so often that boredom or staleness sets in.
3. put to death, to kill; execute.
4. to death, to an intolerable degree: sick to death of working.

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