- a sudden, natural perishing of large numbers of a species, population, or community.
verb (used without object), died, dy·ing.
- to cease to live; undergo the complete and permanent cessation of all vital functions; become dead.
- (of something inanimate) to cease to exist: The laughter died on his lips.
- to lose force, strength, or active qualities: Superstitions die slowly.
- to cease to function; stop: The motor died.
- to be no longer subject; become indifferent: to die to worldly matters.
- to pass gradually; fade or subside gradually (usually followed by away, out, or down): The storm slowly died down.
- Theology. to lose spiritual life.
- to faint or languish.
- to suffer as if fatally: I’m dying of boredom!
- to pine with desire, love, longing, etc.: I’m dying to see my home again.
- to desire or want keenly or greatly: I’m dying for a cup of coffee.
- die away, (of a sound) to become weaker or fainter and then cease: The hoofbeats gradually died away.
- die down, to become calm or quiet; subside.
- die off, to die one after another until the number is greatly reduced: Her friends are dying off.
- die out,
- to cease to exist; become extinct: Both lines of the family died out before the turn of the century.
- to die away; fade; subside: The roar of the engines died out as the rocket vanished into the clouds.
- die hard,
- to die only after a bitter struggle.
- to give way or surrender slowly or with difficulty: Childhood beliefs die hard.
- die standing up, Theater. (of a performance) to be received with silence rather than applause.
- never say die, never give up hope; never abandon one’s efforts.
- to die for, stunning; remarkable: That dress is to die for.
verb dies, dying or died (mainly intr)
- (of an organism or its cells, organs, etc) to cease all biological activity permanentlyshe died of pneumonia
- (of something inanimate) to cease to exist; come to an endthe memory of her will never die
- (often foll by away, down, or out) to lose strength, power, or energy, esp by degrees
- (often foll by away or down) to become calm or quiet; subsidethe noise slowly died down
- to stop functioningthe engine died
- to languish or pine, as with love, longing, etc
- (usually foll by of) informal to be nearly overcome (with laughter, boredom, etc)
- theol to lack spiritual life within the soul, thus separating it from God and leading to eternal punishment
- (tr) to undergo or suffer (a death of a specified kind) (esp in phrases such as die a saintly death)
- (foll by to) to become indifferent or apathetic (to)to die to the world
- never say die informal never give up
- die hard to cease to exist after resistance or a struggleold habits die hard
- die in harness to die while still working or active, prior to retirement
- be dying (foll by for or an infinitive) to be eager or desperate (for something or to do something)I’m dying to see the new house
- to die for informal highly desirablea salary to die for
- a shaped block of metal or other hard material used to cut or form metal in a drop forge, press, or similar device
- a tool of metal, silicon carbide, or other hard material with a conical hole through which wires, rods, or tubes are drawn to reduce their diameter
- an internally-threaded tool for cutting external threadsCompare tap 2 (def. 6)
- a casting mould giving accurate dimensions and a good surface to the object castSee also die-cast
- architect the dado of a pedestal, usually cubic
- another name for dice (def. 2)
- as straight as a die perfectly honest
- the die is cast the decision that commits a person irrevocably to an action has been taken
mid-12c., possibly from Old Danish døja or Old Norse deyja “to die, pass away,” both from Proto-Germanic *dawjanan (cf. Old Frisian deja “to kill,” Old Saxon doian, Old High German touwen, Gothic diwans “mortal”), from PIE root *dheu- (3) “to pass away, become senseless” (cf. Old Irish dith “end, death,” Old Church Slavonic daviti, Russian davit’ “to choke, suffer”).
It has been speculated that Old English had *diegan, from the same source, but it is not in any of the surviving texts and the preferred words were steorfan (see starve), sweltan (see swelter), wesan dead, also forðgan and other euphemisms.
Languages usually don’t borrow words from abroad for central life experiences, but “die” words are an exception, because they are often hidden or changed euphemistically out of superstitious dread. A Dutch euphemism translates as “to give the pipe to Maarten.” Regularly spelled dege through 15c., and still pronounced “dee” by some in Lancashire and Scotland. Used figuratively (of sounds, etc.) from 1580s. Related: Died; dies.
early 14c. (as a plural, late 14c. as a singular), from Old French de “die, dice,” of uncertain origin. Common Romanic (cf. Spanish, Portuguese, Italian dado, Provençal dat, Catalan dau), perhaps from Latin datum “given,” past participle of dare (see date (n.1)), which, in addition to “give,” had a secondary sense of “to play” (as a chess piece); or else from “what is given” (by chance or Fortune). Sense of “stamping block or tool” first recorded 1690s.
- To cease living; become dead; expire.
- To cease existing, especially by degrees; fade.
- A sudden, severe decline in a population or community of organisms as a result of natural causes. Local die-offs can be caused by such factors as an unusual or extreme weather pattern, an outbreak of disease, or toxic algal blooms in a body of water. Widespread or global die-offs in which a species or group of species becomes extinct are generally associated with rapid climate change or other large-scale environmental dislocations.
Perish one by one, as in A celibate community, the Shakers are dying off. [Late 1600s]
In addition to the idioms beginning with die
- die away
- die down
- die for
- die hard
- die in harness
- die is cast, the
- die laughing
- die off
- die out
- die to
- die with one’s boots on
- curl up (and die)
- do or die
- it’s to die
- never say die