dead battery = a burned out battery


Senior Member
Is a dead battery = a burned out battery?

Can I say both “My battery is dead / burned out. Can you jump-start my car?” Maybe not, but I'm not sure.

“Dead battery” = no electricity left, but if it's an EV and is a rechargeable battery, you can recharge it, correct?

“Burned out battery” = no electricity left, and even if it's an EV an a rechargeable battery, you can no longer recharge it, correct?

If the car battery and any other battery can't be talked about with the same words/phrases to describe them, could you tell me what kind of battery you are talking about? I want to know about the car batteries but it would be helpful too.

Thank you.
  • bennymix

    Senior Member
    We don't usually say 'burned out' for a battery; rather for a light bulb (which burns). "Worn out" would be more common.

    "Dead battery" is ambiguous. Applied to car batteries it typically means 'no charge left; likely can be recharged."
    Applied to old fashioned flashlight batteries, it means dead, irreparably so.

    I suppose if you were trying to tell someone your car battery was 'dead', finished, not chargeable,' you'd have to use more words: "dead forever," "totally dead; not chargeable." "Totally dead; entirely depleted [or worn out]." "The battery was junk."

    For new rechargeable batteries (e.g. flashlight), to make it clear, the situation, you can say, "The battery is discharged" as opposed to "dead."

    Enquiring Mind

    Senior Member
    English - the Queen's
    Hi sinkya, in my (British English) usage, I would say colloquially that any kind of battery - a car battery, the small batteries you might have in a radio, or a mobile phone, can be described as "dead" when it no longer has any charge. If it's a rechargeable, it might just need recharging. If it's a rechargeable but still doesn't hold any charge when you recharge it, I'd probably say "completely dead".

    As always, there would be other context to make it clear what you mean, e.g.: "My car battery's dead, it needs replacing", or "these rechargeable batteries are dead, they don't hold any charge even when I charge them up".

    Personally, I don't say a battery is "burned out", but I wouldn't have any trouble understanding that phrase to mean that a battery is "completely dead" and needs replacing, not just recharghing. I might say "worn out" instead of "burned out".
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