The word “deceased” can typically be both a noun and an adjective. As a noun, it refers to a person who has passed away or died. As an adjective, it indicates that a person or being is dead. For example, a person can be “deceased” (adjective form), or they can be “the deceased” (noun form). Some might also argue “deceased” can sometimes qualify as the past tense form of the verb “decease.”
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Different Ways to Say Deceased in an Obituary or Funeral Announcement
- Different Ways to Say Deceased in a Social Media Post
- More Ways You Can Say Deceased
Regardless, while this is a common word, some feel it’s too clinical in certain settings. For example, if you’re delivering a eulogy at a funeral, you may believe the word deceased won’t be appropriate in that environment. It might lack the emotions you’re trying to convey.
Luckily, there are many synonyms for deceased that you can use in its place. Some are individual words, while others are phrases. This overview will cover several noteworthy examples. Consider using them when you feel deceased isn’t the best choice.
Different Ways to Say Deceased in an Obituary or Funeral Announcement
Writing a death announcement is a major responsibility. You need to share important details while also expressing a sense of genuine emotion. If you’d prefer to avoid using the word deceased, consider these synonyms instead:
1. “At rest”
This is a different way to say deceased when you’re using it as an adjective. Instead of saying someone is deceased, you can say they are at rest. This simple change can substantially influence whether a funeral announcement offers peace to those in mourning or whether it merely shares practical information about a recent passing.
2. “At peace”
An alternative version of the above entry, this synonym for deceased tends to be more common among religious families.
3. “No longer with us”
Again, there are many understandable reasons you might not wish to write something as technical as “[Person’s name] is now deceased” when writing an obituary or death announcement. An easy way to make a sentence announcing someone’s death slightly more emotional and personal is to write “In loving memory of [person’s name], who is sadly no longer with us.”
4. “Exited this world” or “Left this world”
Many alternatives to deceased tend to suggest that someone who has died has now gone to a happier place in the afterlife. If you’re very religious, you might directly say they have gone to Heaven (or the equivalent of Heaven in your religion).
However, if you don’t want to alienate friends and family members who may not share your religious values, you could instead say that someone has exited or left this world. Those who want to read this phrasing as having spiritual implications can, while those who don’t have spiritual or religious beliefs can choose not to.
Different Ways to Say Deceased in a Social Media Post
You may refer to someone who has passed on in a social media post for various reasons. In some cases, you might be referring to someone you knew who has passed away. In other instances, you might be posting about a celebrity or world figure who has died.
Depending on the circumstances, instead of using the word deceased, you might use such words or phrases as the following:
This is a popular choice to use in place of deceased because it is respectful, suggesting a gentle and easy death. In this context, it’s technically neither a noun nor adjective, but the past tense version of a verb. Still, it’s easy to adjust the phrasing of a sentence in which you might use the word deceased to use this word instead.
For reasons you likely already understand, you probably shouldn’t use this particular deceased synonym in all social media posts about people who have died. That said, there may be times when it’s entirely acceptable to use this type of slightly humorous phrase.
For instance, you might use this in a post about a beloved pet on the anniversary of their death. Because only you and your immediate family are likely to have had a uniquely close relationship with your pet, the odds that you’ll offend someone by using this phrase are fairly low.
We often use this deceased synonym when referencing people who have died while serving in the armed forces. An example would be a Memorial Day social media post that reads “Thank you to our fallen heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice for God and country.”
If you wish to let your social media followers know that someone has passed away after a long illness, you might say that they have succumbed to that illness.
You may use this deceased synonym if you want to mention that someone has passed on tactfully. Often, you would describe someone in this way if they died some time ago.
For example, you might not describe someone as “My late spouse” the day after they passed. However, if you were posting about them on social media years later, you may consider this option.
More Ways You Can Say Deceased
As this list has already demonstrated, there are many synonyms for deceased because there are many different types of occasions and contexts in which you might talk about someone who has died. Other synonyms to be aware of include:
This is a synonym for deceased that you may use during a funeral. It’s a common element of Catholic funerals, where priests often recite the “Prayer for the Faithful Departed.”
Some people (and even entire cultures) consider sleep to be an apt death metaphor. Thus, you could say someone who has died is asleep instead of saying they are deceased.
The deceased synonym you might use in any given situation can vary depending on the context. For example, while the word “decedent” may not be ideal for a eulogy or obituary, it’s an appropriate way to describe someone who has passed on during legal proceedings. You may refer to someone as a decedent when discussing their will or estate, or you might use the term in wrongful death lawsuit documents.
Sometimes found in Romantic literature, calling someone breathless instead of saying they are deceased is a unique way to describe the state of no longer being alive.
Like pushing-up-daisies, this is another deceased synonym that’s by no means an ideal choice for all situations. On the other hand, in certain particular contexts, it may honestly be the best choice.
Consider the example of a stand-up comedy act. When comedians choose their words, they try to avoid words that are humorless and clinical (unless they’re using them ironically). Thus, instead of using a word like deceased, a comedian might instead say that someone has croaked. This has a much funnier connotation than that of most other words and phrases on this list.
It’s unlikely most of us will have any reason to describe someone who has died as being “finished” when talking about a real individual. However, if you’re an author or screenwriter, this might be a deceased synonym worth keeping in your character dialogue vocab list.
It’s quite a good choice when writing villainous characters. A villain describing a character who has died as being finished conveys a sense of callousness that’s perfect for an evil character. A villain could also use this word when threatening another character, saying something along the lines of “You’re finished!” to the hero of the story as a way of intimidating them.
You might describe a deceased being as inanimate in a scientific paper. Although you can use it to describe a person, you might be more likely to use it when describing an animal.
This word may be used in place of deceased almost exclusively in medical settings. A doctor might use it to let others treating a patient know that said patient has passed away.
The final entry on this list may not be one that comforts all people. Not everyone likes to imagine someone who has passed away as being truly gone. That said, it earns a spot on the list due to the fact that describing a deceased person as being gone has been a common euphemism for death in literature throughout the world for centuries.
Words and Phrases When Deceased Just Won’t Do
Deceased isn’t always the worst choice of word when referencing someone who has died, but there are times when you might feel more comfortable using a synonym. Consider these options when those moments arise.