a matar - dead, to death (adverb)


Senior Member

What are some expressions you have related to death and killings which help intensify the meaning of the sentence. For example:

In English for example you can use "dead" as an adverb to mean "very" in a colloquial way: I'm dead serious.

In Catalan, "a matar" ("to kill", like "to be killed") intensifies an adjective which must always be negative: "és lleig a matar" ("he's dead ugly")

What about your languages?
  • Yendred

    Senior Member
    Français - France
    In French:
    C'est mortel comme + noun
    Il tue ce + noun
    Je meurs d'envie de + verb

    I can't think of general expressions with adjectives, although there are some idiomatic expressions like: Je suis mort de faim


    AL/OL/Ar/Zh mod
    In Cantonese "to death" dou3sei2 is used, like:
    gwai3dou3sei2 "expensive to death"

    Another commonly used intensifier is "ghost" gwai2. It can be combined with "death" sei2:
    gwai2sei2gam3gwai3 "ghost-death-like expensive"


    Senior Member
    Sardu / Italianu
    I think that "dead and death" associated to this kind of phrases are quite universal.

    Italian :
    • serio come la morte - (serious like death)
    • brutto come la morte - (ugly like death)
    Sardinian :
    • seriu que morte - (serious like death)
    • feu que sa morte - (ugly like death)
    • feu que cane - (ugly like a dog)
    • feu que su dèppidu - (ugly like debt)


    Senior Member
    Welsh - Northern
    Perhaps related to the ideas on Sardinia ...


    Hyll fel pechod - Ugly as sin.

    ('Pechod' of course is a Cymricised word from Latin showing the common rule of Latin 'cc' > Welsh 'ch' - the latter pronounced like German ach/Spanish jota).
    In Greek death is «θάνατος» [ˈθa.na.tɔs] (masc.) < Classical deverbative mac. noun «θάνατος» tʰắnatŏs --> death < Classical v. «θνῄσκω» tʰnę̄́skō.

    Dead is «νεκρός, -ρή, -ρό» [neˈkrɔs] (masc.), [neˈkri] (fem.), [neˈkrɔ] (neut.) < Classical adj. «νεκρός, -ρά, -ρόν» nĕkrós (masc.), nĕkrā́ (fem.), nĕkrón (neut.) --> dead, corpse (PIE *neḱ(u)- corpse cf Latin nex, necis, murder, Skt. नश्यति (naśyati), to lose, perish, Av. nasāuuō, corpse, ToA nakät, to disappear, perish).
    Neither is used in idioms.

    On the other hand, the MoGr v. for die, «πεθαίνω» [peˈθe.nɔ], aphetism of Byz. Gr. «ἀπεθαίνω» apethaí̯nō < Classical Aorist ΙΙ «ἀπέθανον» ăpétʰanŏn of the active v. «ἀποθνῄσκω» ăpŏtʰnḗskō --> to die is used in idioms:
    «Πεθαίνω για πίτσα» [peˈθe.nɔ ʝa ˈpi.ʦ͜a] --> I'm dying for pizza (I'm craving for pizza)
    «Πεθαίνω για σένα» [peˈθe.nɔ ʝa ˈse.na] --> I'm dying for you (I'm so in love with you that I cannot live without you)
    «Πεθαίνω στη δουλειά» [peˈθe.nɔ sti ðuˈʎa] --> I'm dying at work (I'm so tired from work).
    Also «πέθανα στη δουλειά» [ˈpe.θa.na sti ðuˈʎa] --> I died at work (idem).

    And the MoGr v. for kill, «σκοτώνω» [skɔˈtɔ.nɔ] < Classical denominative v. «σκοτόω/σκοτῶ» skŏtóō (uncontracted)/skŏtô (contracted) --> to make pass out, darken, (later) to kill < Classical neut. «σκότος» skótŏs --> darkness, dark, swindle (PIE *sk(e)h₃t- shadow, dark cf Proto-Germanic *skadwaz, shadow, Proto-Celtic *skātom, shadow) is used in idioms:
    «Σκοτώνω τον χρόνο μου» [skɔˈtɔ.nɔ tɔn ˈxrɔ.nɔ mu] --> to kill my time (to kill time)
    «Σκοτώνομαι στη δουλειά» [skɔˈtɔ.nɔ.me (mediopassive) sti ðuˈʎa[ --> to kill one's self at work (to work exceedingly hard)


    Senior Member
    Italian - Italy
    Also, in Italian, we say "da morire" ( French "à en mourir"), lit. "to die for" to say "very much, extremely": è brutto da morire = he's very ugly/ è bello da morire = he's very handsome.
    Hyll fel pechod - Ugly as sin.
    And we say "brutto come il peccato"!


    Senior Member
    Français - France
    In Spanish there's "ir a muerte", "to do everything I can"
    Same in French, especially in contexts like "Il a freiné à mort, mais il n'a pas pu éviter l'accident".
    (He braked as strong as he could, but he did not avoid the accident)

    or "estar de muerte" "to be extremely good". But there's no adverb to go with an adjective.
    In French, we may say "C'est mortellement <adjective>" (It's extremely <adjective>), where mortellement is an adverb, but this is not a very common formulation.
    With the adverb, the common formulation is rather in a negative meaning: Je me suis mortellement ennuyé (I got bored to death)

    The most natural form in a positive meaning is with the adjective mortel:
    Ce film avec Brad Pitt était mortel (This movie with Brad Pitt was excellent)
    Last edited:


    You can use dead in Portuguese as well.
    I'm dead tired. Estou morta (de cansaço).
    I'm dead hungry. Estou morta de fome.


    Senior Member
    Rus. намертво (nа́mertvo) - adv. "very firmly" (so it won't move anymore or cannot be separated), literally "todeadly".
    Other related words seem to have meanings which are even less figurative and generally predictable (silent, still, unlively, dead drunk etc.).
    Still, the expression "deadly serious" exists (m. смертельно серьёзный, smertél'no ser'yóznyi).
    "Murderously" (убийственно, ubíystvenno) is used only to note some kind of grievous consequences.
    ~"Slaughteringly" (убойно, ubóyno) has a slangish meaning "very impressively", "amazingly".

    But no general intensifiers, as you can see.


    Senior Member
    kuolemanvakava "dead serious"
    kuolemanväsynyt "dead tired"
    kuolemanhiljainen "dead silent"
    tappavan tylsä "killingly boring"
    nauraa kuollakseen "to laugh oneself to death"
    en kuollaksenikaan muista means "for the life of me I can't remember", literally it's more like "for the death of me, I can't remember"


    Senior Member
    Belgium, Dutch
    Dutch: de dood (death), de dode (a dead person), doden, doodmaken maybe (to kill)...

    doodmoe (dog-tired), doodziek, dodelijk vermoeid (deadly tired), zich doodvervelen (to get bored to death), .. So it is an intensifier indeed.


    Senior Member
    français (France)
    The most natural form in a positive meaning is with the adjective mortel:
    Ce film avec Brad Pitt était mortel (This movie with Brad Pitt was excellent)
    To which we should add « C'est une tuerie » (literally "a slaughter" - related thread) when used about something excellent, particularly about delicious food. There is a slightly dated (is 10 years "slightly dated"?) and quite redundant variant: de la mort qui tue ("of death that kills").
    < Previous | Next >