Meaning of DEAD in English


I. dead 1 S1 W1 /ded/ BrE AmE adjective [no comparative]

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ dead , ↑ death , deadliness; adjective : ↑ dead , ↑ deadly , ↑ deathly ; adverb : ↑ deadly , ↑ deathly ; verb : ↑ deaden ]

[ Language: Old English ]

1 . NOT ALIVE no longer alive:

Her mother had been dead for ten years.

Police are trying to contact the family of the dead man.

a pile of dead leaves

the dead body of a young soldier

Two men were shot dead by terrorists.

Magnus was found dead in his car.

One man is still missing, presumed dead.

He suddenly had a heart attack and dropped dead.

She was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital.

His fellow climbers had left him for dead on the mountain.

We didn’t know if she was dead or alive.

When they found him he was more dead than alive.

Her parents were long dead.

► Do not confuse dead , which is an adjective, with died , which is the past tense and past participle of the verb die : The man was already dead (NOT The man was already died).

2 . NOT WORKING [not before noun] not working because there is no power:

I picked up the phone but discovered the line was dead.

Suddenly the radio went dead.

I think the batteries are dead.

3 . ALREADY USED already used:

a small pile of dead matches

dead glass/bottle (=one that someone has finished drinking from in a bar or restaurant)

4 . BORING [not before noun] a place that is dead is boring because there is nothing interesting or exciting happening there:

This place is dead after nine o'clock.

5 . NOT ACTIVE/USED not active or being used:

The luxury car market has been dead in recent months.

6 . ARM/LEG ETC a part of your body that is dead has no feeling in it, especially because the blood supply to it has been stopped:

When I got up my foot had gone dead where I’d been sitting on it.

7 . NO EMOTION [not before noun] showing no emotion or sympathy:

Jennie’s eyes were cold and dead.

8 . TIRED [not before noun] spoken very tired:

I can’t go out tonight. I’m absolutely dead!

She was dead on her feet and didn’t have the energy to argue (=used when someone keeps going even though they are very tired) .

9 . be dead to the world to be very deeply asleep or unconscious:

Better leave Craig – he’s dead to the world.

10 . USED FOR EMPHASIS [only before noun] completely or exactly – used to emphasize what you are saying:

We all sat waiting in dead silence (=complete silence) .

The train came to a dead stop (=it stopped completely) .

The arrow hit the dead centre of the target (=the exact centre) .

I’ve given the whole thing up as a dead loss (=completely useless or a complete failure) .

John tells me it’s a dead cert, we can’t lose (=something which will certainly happen, win, succeed etc) .

He fell to the floor in a dead faint (=completely unconscious) .

11 . over my dead body spoken used to say that you are determined not to allow something to happen:

You’ll marry him over my dead body!

12 . I wouldn’t be seen/caught dead spoken used to say that you would never wear particular clothes, go to particular places, or do particular things, because you would feel embarrassed

I wouldn’t be seen/caught dead in/on/with etc

I wouldn’t be seen dead in a dress like that!

13 . IN SERIOUS TROUBLE informal in serious trouble

if ... I’m dead/you’re dead etc

If Mum finds out about this, I’m dead.

You’re in dead trouble now (=in very serious trouble) !

One word of this to Sam and you’re dead meat (=you are in serious trouble and someone is very angry with you) !

14 . be dead and buried an argument, problem, plan etc that is dead and buried is not worth considering again:

The old argument about whether the UK should be a member of the EU should now be dead and buried.

15 . be dead in the water informal if a plan or idea is dead in the water, it is unlikely to continue successfully

16 . drop dead! spoken used to rudely and angrily tell someone to go away and leave you alone

17 . dead language a dead language, for example Latin or Ancient Greek, is no longer used by ordinary people ⇨ living language at ↑ living 1 (1)

18 . the dead hand of something something which stops or slows your progress, especially a strong influence:

the dead hand of local government bureaucracy

19 . PLANET a dead ↑ planet has no life on it

20 . IN SPORT when the ball is dead in some games, it is no longer on the playing area

⇨ (as) dead as a dodo at ↑ dodo (3), ⇨ ↑ dead ringer

—deadness noun [uncountable]

• • •


■ verbs

▪ lie dead

If I’m late, Mum worries that I’m lying dead somewhere.

▪ drop dead (=die suddenly)

He dropped dead at the age of 52.

▪ find somebody dead

A man was found dead in the apartment.

▪ shoot somebody dead

He was jailed for life for shooting dead a burglar.

▪ leave somebody dead (=result in someone dying – used especially in news reports)

The shooting left at least 28 people dead.

▪ leave somebody for dead (=leave someone to die)

The men beat him and ran away, leaving him for dead.

▪ pronounce somebody dead (=to say officially that someone is dead)

She was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident.

▪ be feared dead (=used when someone is missing and people are worried that they are dead)

Hundreds of people are feared dead in a ferry disaster.

▪ be presumed dead (=used when someone is missing and people think they are certainly dead)

The two boys have not been seen since they fell into the river, and are now presumed dead.

■ adverbs

▪ clinically dead (=dead based on medical checks)

A person is declared clinically dead when the brain stops working.

■ nouns

▪ a dead body

A dead body has been found in the woods.

■ phrases

▪ long dead (=dead for a long time)

All those people I knew then are long dead now.

▪ dead and gone informal (=completely dead)

Let’s face it, we’ll all be dead and gone soon.

▪ more dead than alive (=very badly hurt or ill and almost dead)

He was swept up onto a beach after three days at sea, more dead than alive.

• • •


▪ dead no longer alive:

the bodies of three dead soldiers


Is her father dead?

▪ lifeless literary dead or seeming to be dead:

their lifeless bodies

▪ late [only before noun] formal dead – use this as a polite way of talking about someone who has died, especially recently:

Mrs Lombard’s late husband


a gold Cartier bracelet that once belonged to the late American artist Andy Warhol

▪ deceased formal dead:

Her parents, now deceased, disapproved of her marriage.


her deceased husband


They were friends of the deceased (=the person who died) .

▪ departed [only before noun] dead – used in order to be polite and avoid saying the word ‘dead’:

They paid their respects to their departed uncle.


his dear departed wife

▪ gone [not before noun] informal dead – used especially when someone was alive not long before:

‘Is she gone?’ ‘I’m afraid so.’

II. dead 2 S3 BrE AmE adverb informal

1 . completely

dead right/wrong

‘It’s a crazy idea.’ ‘You’re dead right!’

dead straight/flat

The road was dead straight.

dead quiet/calm/still

Everything suddenly went dead still.

be dead (set) against something (=completely disagree with something)

Her family were dead against the marriage.

He was obviously dead drunk.

When he saw her, he stopped dead in his tracks (=suddenly stopped moving completely) .

2 . very:

He was dead good-looking.

It sounded dead boring.

dead beat/tired (=very tired)

3 . [+ adjective/adverb] directly or exactly:

I stared dead ahead at the doorway.

The bus arrived dead on time.

• • •


■ adjectives

▪ dead right/wrong

You’re dead wrong, so let me handle this.

▪ dead straight/flat

The countryside around here is dead flat all the way to the sea.

▪ dead quiet/calm/still

The room was dead quiet while we waited for Ted to reply.

▪ dead drunk

He came home dead drunk in the middle of the night.

■ phrases

▪ be dead (set) against something (=completely disapprove of or disagree with something)

I’d like to be an actress but Mum and Dad are dead set against it.

▪ be dead set on something (=be determined to do something)

At the moment, Steve’s just dead set on winning the gold medal.

▪ stop dead (in your tracks) (=suddenly stop moving completely)

She was so shocked that she stopped dead in her tracks.

III. dead 3 BrE AmE noun

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ dead , ↑ death , deadliness; adjective : ↑ dead , ↑ deadly , ↑ deathly ; adverb : ↑ deadly , ↑ deathly ; verb : ↑ deaden ]

1 . the dead [plural] people who have died:

Families on both sides buried their dead.

the dead and injured/wounded/dying

Most of the dead and injured had been passengers on the bus.

2 . the dead of night/winter the middle of the night or the middle of the winter:

creeping around in the dead of night

3 . rise/come back/return from the dead to become alive again after dying:

Christ rose from the dead.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.