v. (st.)

Gaw infin. deʒe; Pe infin. dyʒe, past sg. dyed, dyʒed; Cl infin. dyʒen, dyʒe; Pat diʒe; Erk past 1 sg. deghed; WA infin. die, dee, dyi, pres. 1 sg. dee, dye, die, pres. 3 sg. deis, dies, dyes, pres. pl. dies, imper. pl. dies, past sg. deid, died, dyez, past pl. died, deed, pp. deid

'to die' (Modern English die)


Usually derived from ON, cp. OIcel deyja ‘to die’ (str. VI, pret. 3 sg.), reflecting a PGmc *daw-jan- (cp. the wk. verbs OS dōian, OHG touwan; OIcel deyja is also sometimes conjugated wk., with pret. 3 sg. deyði). An OE Angl. cognate *dēgan (WS *dīegan) is possible, but there is no convincing evidence for it (see further Dance) and that a word for such a fundamental concept should first appear in the 12c. (in Bodley 343) is generally regarded as sufficient grounds to give the benefit of the doubt to derivation from Norse.  

PGmc Ancestor


Proposed ON Etymon (OIcel representative)

deyja ‘to die’
(ONP deyja (1) (vb.))

Other Scandinavian Reflexes

Far doggja, Icel deyja, Norw døya, Dan , Sw

OE Cognate

cp. OE dēad 'dead' < *dau-ða-, and dēaþ 'death' < *dau-þuz/*dau-þaz

Phonological and morphological markers

Summary category



The earliest bona fide instances are in Bodley 343 (see DOE, Dance 2000, SPS); thereafter common and widespread in ME.

Occurrences in the Gersum Corpus

Gaw 996, 1163, 2460; Pe 306, 642, 705, etc.; Cl 400, 1329; Pat 488; Erk 246; WA 692, 990, 1033 etc.


MED dīen (v.) , OED die (v.1) , HTOED , Dance deʒe, Bj. 66, 285, DP 12-15, SPS 493–4, de Vries deyja, Mag. deyja, Bj-L dø, Seebold dau-ja-, Orel *ðawjanan, Kroonen *daujan-, AEW dīegan, DOE dēgan