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.
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.
Opposed to or strict about: Our boss is death on casual dressing.
put 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-2 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.
American Heritage Dictionary Products
The American Heritage Dictionary, 5th Edition
The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms
The American Heritage Roget's Thesaurus
Curious George's Dictionary
The American Heritage Children's Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots
The American Heritage Student Grammar Dictionary
The American Heritage Desk Dictionary + Thesaurus
The American Heritage Science Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Business Terms
The American Heritage Student Dictionary
The American Heritage Essential Student Thesaurus