Etymology: Middle English deed, from Old English dēad; akin to Old Norse dauthr dead, deyja to die, Old High German tōt dead — more at die
Date: before 12th century
1. deprived of life ; no longer alive
(1) having the appearance of death ; deathly <in a dead faint> (2) lacking power to move, feel, or respond ; numb b. very tired c. (1) incapable of being stirred emotionally or intellectually ; unresponsive <dead to pity> (2) grown cold ; extinguished <dead coals> 3. a. inanimate, inert <dead matter> b. barren, infertile <dead soil> c. no longer producing or functioning ; exhausted <a dead battery> 4. a. (1) lacking power or effect <a dead law> (2) no longer having interest, relevance, or significance <a dead issue> b. no longer in use ; obsolete <a dead language> c. no longer active ; extinct <a dead volcano> d. lacking in gaiety or animation <a dead party> e. (1) lacking in commercial activity ; quiet (2) commercially idle or unproductive <dead capital> f. lacking elasticity <a dead tennis ball> g. being out of action or out of use <the phone went dead>; specifically free from any connection to a source of voltage and free from electric charges h. (1) being out of play <a dead ball> (2) temporarily forbidden to play or to make a certain play in croquet 5. a. not running or circulating ; stagnant <dead water> b. not turning <the dead center of a lathe> c. not imparting motion or power although otherwise functioning <a dead rear axle> d. lacking warmth, vigor, or taste 6. a. absolutely uniform <a dead level> b. (1) unerring (2) exact <dead center of the target> (3) certain to be doomed <he's dead if he's late for curfew> (4) irrevocable <a dead loss> c. abrupt <brought to a dead stop> d. (1) complete, absolute <a dead silence> (2) all-out <caught it on the dead run> 7. devoid of former occupants <dead villages> • deadness noun Synonyms: dead, defunct, deceased, departed, late mean devoid of life. dead applies literally to what is deprived of vital force but is used figuratively of anything that has lost any attribute (as energy, activity, radiance) suggesting life <a dead, listless performance>. defunct stresses cessation of active existence or operation <a defunct television series>. deceased, departed, and late apply to persons who have died recently. deceased is the preferred term in legal use <the estate of the deceased>. departed is used usually as a euphemism <our departed sister>. late is used especially with reference to a person in a specific relation or status <the company's late president>. II. noun (plural dead) Date: before 12th century 1. one that is dead — usually used collectively 2. the state of being dead <raised him from the dead — Colossians 2:12 (Revised Standard Version)> 3. the time of greatest quiet <the dead of night> III. adverb Date: 14th century 1. absolutely, utterly <dead certain> <finished dead last> 2. suddenly and completely <stopped dead> 3. directly <dead ahead>
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.