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[dahy] /daɪ/
verb (used without object), died, dying.
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.
Verb phrases
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,
  1. to cease to exist; become extinct:
    Both lines of the family died out before the turn of the century.
  2. to die away; fade; subside:
    The roar of the engines died out as the rocket vanished into the clouds.
die hard,
  1. to die only after a bitter struggle.
  2. 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.
Origin of die1
1150-1200; Middle English dien, deien < Old Norse deyja. Cf. dead, death
1. expire, depart. Die, pass away (pass on; pass ), perish mean to relinquish life. To die is to become dead from any cause and in any circumstances. It is the simplest, plainest, and most direct word for this idea, and is used figuratively of anything that has once displayed activity: An echo, flame, storm, rumor dies. Pass away (or pass on or pass ) is a commonly used euphemism implying a continuation of life after death: Grandfather passed away (passed on or passed ). Perish, a more literary term, implies death under harsh circumstances such as hunger, cold, neglect, etc.; figuratively, perish connotes utter extinction: Hardship caused many pioneers to perish. Ancient Egyptian civilization has perished. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for dying down
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The tide has turned, and the wind is dying down; we can float slowly in.

    Horace Chase Constance Fenimore Woolson
  • But perhaps it was only that the breeze was dying down as the afternoon wore on.

    A Spirit in Prison Robert Hichens
  • He was between the columns at last, but the light was dying down.

    It Happened in Egypt C. N. Williamson
  • The island was dying down over the sea in a pale light of silver grey.

    The Manxman Hall Caine
  • Like French he noticed the signs of change, the dying down of brilliance and of bloom.

    Marriage la mode Mrs. Humphry Ward
  • To Solomon was left the consummation and the finish, and the dying down.

  • Having served them well it was now dying down to its repose, leaving the evening that was near to night profoundly calm.

    A Spirit in Prison Robert Hichens
  • The day was closing; the thunders of the cannon were dying down.

    The Parisians, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • Daylight is due pretty soon, now, and the storm is dying down.

    The Thing from the Lake Eleanor M. Ingram
British Dictionary definitions for dying down


verb (mainly intransitive) dies, dying, died
(of an organism or its cells, organs, etc) to cease all biological activity permanently: she died of pneumonia
(of something inanimate) to cease to exist; come to an end: the 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; subside: the noise slowly died down
to stop functioning: the 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
(transitive) 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
(informal) never say die, never give up
die hard, to cease to exist after resistance or a struggle: old 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
(informal) to die for, highly desirable: a salary to die for
See also dieback, die down, die out
Usage note
It was formerly considered incorrect to use the preposition from after die, but of and from are now both acceptable: he died of/from his injuries
Word Origin
Old English dīegan, probably of Scandinavian origin; compare Old Norse deyja, Old High German touwen


  1. a shaped block of metal or other hard material used to cut or form metal in a drop forge, press, or similar device
  2. 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 threads Compare tap2 (sense 6)
a casting mould giving accurate dimensions and a good surface to the object cast See also die-cast
(architect) the dado of a pedestal, usually cubic
another name for dice (sense 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
Word Origin
C13 dee, from Old French de, perhaps from Vulgar Latin datum (unattested) a piece in games, noun use of past participle of Latin dare to play
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for dying down



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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dying down in Medicine

die (dī)
v. died, dy·ing (dī'ĭng), dies

  1. To cease living; become dead; expire.

  2. To cease existing, especially by degrees; fade.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Slang definitions & phrases for dying down



To desire very strongly: She was dying to become Miss Pancake (1591+)


  1. To laugh uncontrollably: When he puts a lampshade on his head you could die (1596+)
  2. To be left on base at the end of an inning (1908+ Baseball)

Related Terms

cross my heart

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with dying down
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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