I. die 1 S1 W1 /daɪ/ BrE AmE verb ( past tense and past participle died , present participle dying , third person singular dies ) [intransitive]
[ Date: 1100-1200 ; Origin: Probably from Old Norse deyja ]
1 . BECOME DEAD to stop living and become dead:
He died in 1985 at the age of 76.
Her father died suddenly in an accident when she was only ten.
The animals died of starvation in the snow.
patients who are dying from cancer
She died peacefully in her sleep at the age of 98.
die for something (=be killed while fighting to defend something)
Do you believe in anything enough to die for it?
She died young, at the age of 27.
The bullet went straight through his head, and he died instantly.
to your dying day/until the day you die (=until you die)
It must remain a secret until the day I die.
sb’s dying breath/wish (=someone’s last breath or wish)
It was his dying wish that the house be opened to the public.
die a hero/martyr/rich man etc
My uncle died a hero.
die a natural/violent/agonizing death
Did she die a natural death? (=did she die naturally, or did someone kill her?)
2 . DISAPPEAR to disappear or stop existing:
Our love will never die.
The family name will die with him (=disappear when he dies) .
He’s one of a dying breed (=a type of person that is no longer common) .
3 . MACHINES informal to stop working SYN break down :
The engine spluttered and died.
die on somebody (=stop working while they are using it)
The mower just died on me.
4 . be dying for something/to do something spoken to want something very much:
I’m dying for a cup of tea.
She was dying to ask where he’d got it.
I’m dying to see what it is.
5 . be dying of hunger/thirst/boredom spoken to be very hungry, thirsty, bored etc:
Do you fancy a cup of tea? I’m dying of thirst.
6 . I nearly died/I could have died spoken used to say that you felt very surprised or embarrassed:
I nearly died when I saw it was my ex-husband!
7 . die of embarrassment/shame to be very embarrassed or ashamed:
The room was such a mess, I just died of embarrassment.
8 . I’d rather die spoken used to say very strongly that you do not want to do something:
I’d rather die than work for him!
9 . in the dying minutes/seconds/moments (of something) during the last minutes or seconds before the end of something:
United scored an equaliser in the dying minutes of the game.
10 . old habits/traditions/customs die hard used to say that it takes a long time to change to a new way of doing something
11 . never say die spoken used to encourage someone to continue doing something that is difficult
12 . die a/the death informal to gradually fail or be forgotten:
The rumour gradually died a death.
13 . die laughing spoken to laugh a lot:
We nearly died laughing when he told us.
14 . to die for informal extremely nice, attractive, or desirable:
She had hair to die for.
• • •
■ die + ADVERB
▪ die instantly (=as soon as an accident, injury etc happens)
He was shot in the head and died instantly.
▪ die suddenly
She died suddenly of a heart attack, in Amsterdam.
▪ die young
They had seven children and three of them died young.
▪ die alone
He had a fear of dying alone.
▪ die unmarried
He died unmarried in 1922.
▪ die aged 35/50 etc
Her father died aged 84.
▪ die peacefully (=calmly and without pain)
The nurses said that she died very peacefully.
▪ die tragically
His wife had died tragically in an accident.
▪ die penniless (=without any money)
Van Gogh died penniless because nobody bought his paintings.
▪ die in your sleep
During the night he died in his sleep.
▪ die in suspicious/mysterious circumstances (=used to say that someone may have been killed)
He got involved with drug dealers and died in mysterious circumstances.
▪ die a natural death (=of natural causes, rather than being killed)
The coroner concluded that Wilkins had died a natural death.
▪ die a sudden/violent/slow etc death
At the end of the play, the main character dies a violent death.
▪ die a hero/rich man etc
He died a hero on the battlefield.
▪ die in childbirth (=giving birth to a baby)
More women died in childbirth in the past.
• • •
▪ die to stop being alive, as a result of old age or illness:
I want to see Ireland again before I die.
No wonder your plants always die – you don’t water them enough.
His son died of liver cancer three years ago.
▪ pass away to die – used when you want to avoid using the word ‘die’, in order to show respect or to avoid upsetting someone:
My wife had just passed away, and I didn’t want to be around people.
▪ pass on to pass away – use this especially when you believe that the soul has a life after the death of the body:
I’m sorry, Emily, but your mother has passed on.
▪ lose your life to be killed in a terrible event:
Hundreds of people lost their lives when the ship overturned in a storm.
▪ perish literary to die in a terrible event – used especially in literature and news reports:
Five children perished before firefighters could put out the blaze.
▪ give your life/lay down your life formal to die in order to save someone, or because of something that you believe in:
We honor the men and women who have given their lives in service of their country.
▪ drop dead informal to suddenly die, when people do not expect you to:
One day, he came home from work and dropped dead of a heart attack.
▪ kick the bucket/pop your clogs British English , buy the farm American English informal to die – used when you are not talking seriously about death:
It’s not like I’m going to kick the bucket tomorrow.
die away phrasal verb
if sound, wind, or light dies away, it becomes gradually weaker until you cannot hear, feel, or see it:
Her voice died away as she saw the look on David’s face.
She waited until the footsteps had died away.
die back phrasal verb
if a plant dies back, it dies above the ground but remains alive at its roots
die down phrasal verb
if something dies down, it becomes less strong, active, or violent:
Don’t worry, the gossip will soon die down.
when the excitement had died down
die off phrasal verb
if a group of people or animals die off, they die one by one until there are no more of them
die out phrasal verb
to disappear or stop existing completely:
The wild population of koalas is in danger of dying out.
There will be outbreaks of rain, gradually dying out later.
II. die 2 BrE AmE noun [countable]
1 . a metal block used to press or cut something into a particular shape
a ↑ dice
3 . the die is cast used to say that a decision has been taken and cannot now be changed