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- I. 1. The act or fact of dying; the end of life; the final cessation of the vital functions of an animal or plant. a. of an individual.
- b. in the abstract.
- c. as a personified agent. (Usually figured as a skeleton; see also DEATH'S-HEAD.)
- 2. The state of being dead; the state or condition of being without life, animation, or activity. death-in-life, life that lacks any satisfaction or purpose; living death. (Cf. quot. 1841 s.v. DEATHLINESS.) ¶In preceding senses the death was frequent in Old and Middle English, and down to the 16th c. See also 7, 12c, 13; to die the death: see DIE.
- 3. transf. The loss or cessation of life in a particular part or tissue of a living being.
- 4. Loss of sensation or vitality, state of unconsciousness, swoon. Obs. rare. (Cf. DEAD a. 2.)
- 5. fig. a. The loss or want of spiritual life; the being or becoming spiritually dead. the second death: the punishment or destruction of lost souls after physical death.
- c. Of a thing: Cessation of being, end, extinction, destruction.
- 6. Bloodshed, slaughter, murder.
- 7. Cause or occasion of death, as in to be the death of; something that kills, or renders liable to death; often hyperbolically; poet. a deadly weapon, poison, etc.