Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

dead - definition and synonyms

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.

Thesaurus diagram

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

adjective     dead pronunciation in American English
Word Forms
  1. 1
    no longer alive

    The police don’t know whether she’s alive or dead.

    He is grieving for his dead father.

    I raked up the dead leaves.

    a dead body:

    Rescue workers are still pulling dead bodies out of the rubble.

    be feared/presumed dead:

    Three people are still missing, presumed dead.

    leave someone dead:

    The shootings left 14 people dead.

    leave someone for dead (=leave them to die):

    He was beaten and left for dead by a gang of teenagers.

    long dead (=dead for a long time):

    By the time I had my children, Grandma was long dead.

    dead and gone:

    All of that generation are now dead and gone.

    more dead than alive (=very sick, weak, or badly injured):

    They staggered down the mountain, more dead than alive.

    Synonyms and related words
    1. a.

      the dead

      people who are dead
      the dead and injured:

      Fifteen of her relatives were among the dead and injured.

      the dead and dying:

      The bridge was soon blocked with the dead and dying.

      bury the/your dead:

      The people of the town now want to be left alone to bury their dead.

  2. 2
    a piece of equipment that is dead is no longer working or able to receive an electrical signal

    The battery was completely dead.

    go dead:

    The phone suddenly went dead.

  3. 3
    a place, time, or situation that is dead is not very interesting because very little happens in it

    The street seems dead without all the bustle of the children.

    Winter is traditionally a dead time of year in the fashion business.

  4. 5



    half dead

    [never before noun] informal very tired, weak, or sick

    You kids seem half dead!

    dead on your feet (=very tired but still standing):

    By the time we had finished we were all dead on our feet.

  5. 6
    if a part of your body is dead, you cannot feel it or move it normally
    go dead:

    My legs had gone completely dead.

  6. 7
    if someone’s eyes are dead, or if their voice is dead, they feel or show no emotion

    She turned to him with her strange dead eyes.

  7. 8
    [usually before noun] a dead language such as Latin is no longer used by people in their ordinary lives
  8. 9
    [only before noun] complete
    dead silence:

    She finished speaking, and there was dead silence in the room.

    dead center:

    The bullet hit the target dead center (=exactly in the center).

    a dead stop:

    The truck suddenly came to a dead stop.

    in a dead faint (=completely unconscious):

    She fell forward and hit the floor in a dead faint.

  9. 10
    a ball is dead in some games if it is outside the area on which the game is played, so that the game stops for a short time
  10. 11
    a place that is dead has no living plants or animals in it
  11. 12
    British informal a dead glass or bottle is one that you have finished drinking from
  12. 13
    [never before noun] informal in serious trouble

    If Louise catches you going through her purse, you’re dead!

  13. From our crowdsourced Open Dictionary
    dead from the neck up very foolish or stupid

    Sometimes my friend is dead from the neck up.

    Submitted by Caleb Judy from United States on 25/03/2016
  • Facebook
  • Twitter


a lifestyle focussing on simple pleasures such as comfort and cosiness in the home, and spending time with friends and family

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


a form of location that involves the underwater detonation of a bomb which causes sound waves that are picked up by ships

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play