English : Expire and Die





What is the difference between Expire and Die?

By Mr. Mal, Singapore – 26th June 2007.

The word die is the informal of the two. Expire is considered by many to be literary. When you die you cease to live. All signs of life cease to exist. The word can be used not only with people, but also with things, things which have the appearance of life - echo, topic, music, etc.

Here are a few examples.

• The smile that was splitting Hema's face died when she saw Arun.

• The car died on our way to the theatre.

• The firemen were waiting for the flames to die out.

The word expire, on the other hand, means, to breathe out air through the lungs. When you say that someone has expired what it means is, the person has expelled air for the last time. In other words, he has stopped breathing and is therefore dead. Like the word dead, expire can be used with things as well. When you say that something has expired, it implies that it has reached its limit and cannot be further extended. When something expires, its ending is usually gradual and is expected. When something dies, its ending may be sudden and totally unexpected. For example, people usually die in an accident. They do not expire in one. When you cannot extend your lease, you say it has expired. You cannot say that it has died.

• Farheen's contract with the company expired last week.

• The battery died the second week.

• The grace period given by the teacher will expire in a week's time.

• The words died on her lips.




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