The act of dying; termination of life. The state of being dead. The cause of dying: Drugs were the death of him. A manner of dying: a heroine's death. A personification of the destroyer of life, usually represented as a skeleton holding a scythe. Bloodshed; murder. Execution. Law Civil death. The termination or extinction of something: the death of imperialism. at death's door Near to death; gravely ill or injured. be the death of To distress or irritate to an intolerable degree. death on Opposed to or strict about: Our boss is death on casual dressing. put to death To execute. to death To an intolerable degree; extremely: worried to death.