To be the death of
Death Death (d[e^]th), n. [OE. deth, dea[eth], AS. de['a][eth]; akin to OS. d[=o][eth], D. dood, G. tod, Icel. dau[eth]i, Sw. & Dan. d["o]d, Goth. dau[thorn]us; from a verb meaning to die. See {Die}, v. i., and cf. {Dead}.] 1. The cessation of all vital phenomena without capability of resuscitation, either in animals or plants. [1913 Webster]

Note: Local death is going on at all times and in all parts of the living body, in which individual cells and elements are being cast off and replaced by new; a process essential to life. General death is of two kinds; death of the body as a whole (somatic or systemic death), and death of the tissues. By the former is implied the absolute cessation of the functions of the brain, the circulatory and the respiratory organs; by the latter the entire disappearance of the vital actions of the ultimate structural constituents of the body. When death takes place, the body as a whole dies first, the death of the tissues sometimes not occurring until after a considerable interval. --Huxley. [1913 Webster]

2. Total privation or loss; extinction; cessation; as, the death of memory. [1913 Webster]

The death of a language can not be exactly compared with the death of a plant. --J. Peile. [1913 Webster]

3. Manner of dying; act or state of passing from life. [1913 Webster]

A death that I abhor. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

Let me die the death of the righteous. --Num. xxiii. 10. [1913 Webster]

4. Cause of loss of life. [1913 Webster]

Swiftly flies the feathered death. --Dryden. [1913 Webster]

He caught his death the last county sessions. --Addison. [1913 Webster]

5. Personified: The destroyer of life, -- conventionally represented as a skeleton with a scythe. [1913 Webster]

Death! great proprietor of all. --Young. [1913 Webster]

And I looked, and behold a pale horse; and his name that sat on him was Death. --Rev. vi. 8. [1913 Webster]

6. Danger of death. ``In deaths oft.'' --2 Cor. xi. 23. [1913 Webster]

7. Murder; murderous character. [1913 Webster]

Not to suffer a man of death to live. --Bacon. [1913 Webster]

8. (Theol.) Loss of spiritual life. [1913 Webster]

To be carnally minded is death. --Rom. viii. 6. [1913 Webster]

9. Anything so dreadful as to be like death. [1913 Webster]

It was death to them to think of entertaining such doctrines. --Atterbury. [1913 Webster]

And urged him, so that his soul was vexed unto death. --Judg. xvi. 16. [1913 Webster]

Note: Death is much used adjectively and as the first part of a compound, meaning, in general, of or pertaining to death, causing or presaging death; as, deathbed or death bed; deathblow or death blow, etc. [1913 Webster]

{Black death}. See {Black death}, in the Vocabulary.

{Civil death}, the separation of a man from civil society, or the debarring him from the enjoyment of civil rights, as by banishment, attainder, abjuration of the realm, entering a monastery, etc. --Blackstone.

{Death adder}. (Zo["o]l.) (a) A kind of viper found in South Africa ({Acanthophis tortor}); -- so called from the virulence of its venom. (b) A venomous Australian snake of the family {Elapid[ae]}, of several species, as the {Hoplocephalus superbus} and {Acanthopis antarctica}.

{Death bell}, a bell that announces a death. [1913 Webster]

The death bell thrice was heard to ring. --Mickle.

{Death candle}, a light like that of a candle, viewed by the superstitious as presaging death.

{Death damp}, a cold sweat at the coming on of death.

{Death fire}, a kind of ignis fatuus supposed to forebode death. [1913 Webster]

And round about in reel and rout, The death fires danced at night. --Coleridge.

{Death grapple}, a grapple or struggle for life.

{Death in life}, a condition but little removed from death; a living death. [Poetic] ``Lay lingering out a five years' death in life.'' --Tennyson.

{Death rate}, the relation or ratio of the number of deaths to the population. [1913 Webster]

At all ages the death rate is higher in towns than in rural districts. --Darwin.

{Death rattle}, a rattling or gurgling in the throat of a dying person.

{Death's door}, the boundary of life; the partition dividing life from death.

{Death stroke}, a stroke causing death.

{Death throe}, the spasm of death.

{Death token}, the signal of approaching death.

{Death warrant}. (a) (Law) An order from the proper authority for the execution of a criminal. (b) That which puts an end to expectation, hope, or joy.

{Death wound}. (a) A fatal wound or injury. (b) (Naut.) The springing of a fatal leak.

{Spiritual death} (Scripture), the corruption and perversion of the soul by sin, with the loss of the favor of God.

{The gates of death}, the grave. [1913 Webster]

Have the gates of death been opened unto thee? --Job xxxviii. 17.

{The second death}, condemnation to eternal separation from God. --Rev. ii. 11.

{To be the death of}, to be the cause of death to; to make die. ``It was one who should be the death of both his parents.'' --Milton.

Syn: {Death}, {Decease}, {Demise}, {Departure}, {Release}.

Usage: Death applies to the termination of every form of existence, both animal and vegetable; the other words only to the human race. Decease is the term used in law for the removal of a human being out of life in the ordinary course of nature. Demise was formerly confined to decease of princes, but is now sometimes used of distinguished men in general; as, the demise of Mr. Pitt. Departure and release are peculiarly terms of Christian affection and hope. A violent death is not usually called a decease. Departure implies a friendly taking leave of life. Release implies a deliverance from a life of suffering or sorrow. [1913 Webster]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

Look at other dictionaries:

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