29/06/16 What’s the Difference between ‘DEATH,’ ‘DEMISE,’ ‘DECEASE,’ & ‘SURCEASE’?

e-legal lesson

Here we have the common word, followed by three formal words (in order of increasing formality) that act almost as euphemisms. There is nothing wrong with death, although the word inherently has unpleasant connotations. Deceased, as an adjective, is quite acceptable, having been established by usage and not striking most readers as circumlocutory.

Decease as a verb = to die. “He deceased without issue.” This verbal use of decease is even more pompous than the nominal use. The straightforward die is almost always better.