Etymology
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Words related to death

die (v.)

mid-12c., dien, deighen, of sentient beings, "to cease to live," possibly from Old Danish døja or Old Norse deyja "to die, pass away," both from Proto-Germanic *dawjan (source also of Old Frisian deja "to kill," Old Saxon doian, Old High German touwen, Gothic diwans "mortal"), from PIE root *dheu- (3) "to pass away, die, become senseless" (source also of 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 ("become dead"), also forðgan and other euphemisms.

Languages usually don't borrow words from abroad for central life experiences, but "die" words are an exception; they often are 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. Of plants, "become devitalized, wither," late 14c.; in a general sense of "come to an end" from mid-13c. Meaning "be consumed with a great longing or yearning" (as in dying to go) is colloquial, from 1709. Used figuratively (of sounds, etc.) from 1580s; to die away "diminish gradually" is from 1670s. To die down "subside" is by 1834. Related: Died; dies.

To die out "become extinct" is from 1865. To die game "preserve a bold, resolute, and defiant spirit to the end" (especially of one facing the gallows) is from 1793. Phrase never say die "don't give up or in" is by 1822; the earliest contexts are in sailors' jargon.

"Never look so cloudy about it messmate," the latter continued in an unmoved tone—"Cheer up man, the rope is not twisted for your neck yet. Jack's alive; who's for a row? Never say die while there's a shot in the locker. Whup;" [Gerald Griffin, "Card Drawing," 1842]
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Black Death (n.)

"bubonic/pneumonic plague epidemic of 1347-51 in Europe," a modern name, introduced in English 1823 by Elizabeth Penrose's history of England. The contemporary 14c. name for it in most European languages was something like "the great dying" or simply "the plague;" in English it was the pestilence (or, looking back after its return in 1361-2, the first pestilence).

The term "Black Death" first turns up in 16c. Swedish and Danish chronicles, but it is used in reference to a visitation of plague in Iceland (which had been spared in the earlier outbreaks) in 1402-3 that carried off much of the population there. The exact sense of "black" is not clear. The term appears in English translations of the Scandinavian works from 1750s. It was picked up in German c. 1770 and applied to the earlier outbreak and was taken from there into English in that sense.

bath (n.)

Old English bæð "an immersing of the body in water, mud, etc.," also "a quantity of water, etc., for bathing," from Proto-Germanic *badan (source also of Old Frisian beth, Old Saxon bath, Old Norse bað, Middle Dutch bat, German Bad), from PIE root *bhē- "to warm" + *-thuz, Germanic suffix indicating "act, process, condition" (as in birth, death). The etymological sense is of heating, not immersing.

The city in Somerset, England (Old English Baðun) was so called from its hot springs. Bath salts is attested from 1875 (Dr. Julius Braun, "On the Curative Effects of Baths and Waters"). Bath-house is from 1705; bath-towel is from 1958.

birth (n.)

c. 1200, "fact of being born;" mid-13c., "act of giving birth, a bringing forth by the mother, childbirth," sometimes in Middle English also "conception;" also "that which is born, offspring, child;" from a Scandinavian source such as Old Norse *byrðr (replacing cognate Old English gebyrd "birth, descent, race; offspring; nature; fate"), from Proto-Germanic *gaburthis (source also of Old Frisian berd, Old Saxon giburd, Dutch geboorte, Old High German giburt, German geburt, Gothic gabaurþs), from PIE *bhrto past participle of root *bher- (1) "to carry; to bear children" (compare bear (v.)).

Suffix -th is for "process" (as in bath, death). Meaning "condition into which a person is born, lineage, descent" is from c. 1200 (also in the Old English word). In reference to non-living things, "any coming into existence" is from 1610s. Birth control is from 1914; birth certificate is from 1842.

death-bed (n.)

also deathbed, Old English, "the grave," from death (n.) + bed (n.). Meaning "bed on which someone dies" is from c. 1300.

deathless (adj.)

"not subject to death or destruction, immortal," 1580s, from death + -less. Related: Deathlessly; deathlessness.

deathly (adj.)

Old English deaþlic "mortal, subject to death" (a sense now obsolete); see death + -ly (1). Meaning "deadly" (of poison, sin, etc.) is from c. 1200; that of "death-like, characteristic of death, resembling death" is from c. 1200, originally of complexion. Compare deadly. Related: Deadliness.

death-rattle (n.)

"sound sometimes heard in the last labored breathing of a dying person," 1805, from death + rattle (n.).

death-trap (n.)

"structure or situation involving imminent risk of death," 1835, from death + trap (n.).

death-warrant (n.)

1690s, "warrant of capital execution from proper authority," from death + warrant (n.). Figurative sense of "anything which puts an end to hope or expectation" is from 1874.