They left him there for dead.?

This question has been answered · 7 replies
Hi

Could you please tell me what "for dead" means in the following sentences?

They left him there for dead.

Does it mean that they thought he was dead and left or they thought they he was going to die?

Thanks,

Tom
Senior Member2,595
Moderator: A super-user who takes care of the forums. You have the ability to message a moderator privately should you wish. These users have a range of elevated privileges including the deletion, editing and movement of posts when needed.
Approved answer (verified by )
Hi Tom,

To leave somebody for dead probably is the expression in its entirety here. It usually has a negative connotation. If placed in context, we would get something like: two people are driving around in a car when all of a sudden they hit a pedestrian. When they back up they see this guy lying on the street, unconscious. They decide to drive off home and leave the unconsicous guy on the street. So, basically it means that they more or less deliberately (of course sometimes in a state of shock) leave the victim alone, not knowing whether this person requires medical attention or not – 'as if he were dead'.

I'm not sure if and how the expression could be used in another context. Usually there's been some kind of accident in which people have been negligent in looking after the victim. I do think though that the above example is more or less how it's used by most people.

- DJB -
Regular Member901
Proficient Speaker: Users in this role are known to maintain an excellent grasp of the English language. You can only be promoted to this role by the Englishforums team.Trusted Users: Trusted users are allowed to use additional capabilities of the site such as private messaging to all users and various other advanced features. You cannot join this role unless you are promoted by an administrator.
ALL REPLIES
Hi,

Could you please tell me what "for dead" means in the following sentences?

They left him there for dead.

Does it mean that they thought he was dead Yes, It also implies, often, that 'they' are the ones who killed him. and left

or they thought they he was going to die?

Clive
Veteran Member69,373
Moderator: A super-user who takes care of the forums. You have the ability to message a moderator privately should you wish. These users have a range of elevated privileges including the deletion, editing and movement of posts when needed.Teachers: Users in this role are certified teachers. This may include DELTA, CELTA, TESOL, TEFL qualified professionals. Email a scan of your qualification to an admin, if you wish to be considered.
dokterjokkebrokdeliberately (of course sometimes in a state of shock) leave the victim alone, not knowing whether this person requires medical attention or not – 'as if he were dead'.

And sometimes, not caring if the person is dead or not.
Veteran Member19,528
Moderator: A super-user who takes care of the forums. You have the ability to message a moderator privately should you wish. These users have a range of elevated privileges including the deletion, editing and movement of posts when needed.Proficient Speaker: Users in this role are known to maintain an excellent grasp of the English language. You can only be promoted to this role by the Englishforums team.
for

2 a : as being or constituting <taken for a fool>

www.m-w.com

left him 'as being' dead.
In other words, left him, assuming he was dead.

CJ
Veteran Member53,283
Moderator: A super-user who takes care of the forums. You have the ability to message a moderator privately should you wish. These users have a range of elevated privileges including the deletion, editing and movement of posts when needed.Proficient Speaker: Users in this role are known to maintain an excellent grasp of the English language. You can only be promoted to this role by the Englishforums team.
Hi,

Which meaning would be more common for 'leave somebody for dead'?

1). Assuming that someone is dead. (e.g. two friends who are in a car crash; one manages to get out alive but is forced to leave his friend behind because the car is on fire.

2). Not caring whether someone is dead or not. (e.g. someone who runs off after stabbing someone)

- DJB -
Proficient Speaker: Users in this role are known to maintain an excellent grasp of the English language. You can only be promoted to this role by the Englishforums team.Trusted Users: Trusted users are allowed to use additional capabilities of the site such as private messaging to all users and various other advanced features. You cannot join this role unless you are promoted by an administrator.
Hi,

I'm inclined to say #2, but much depends on the overall context.

I think your question, ie Which meaning would be more common . . . ?,

is misleading, because the expression itself is not at all common.

Clive
Moderator: A super-user who takes care of the forums. You have the ability to message a moderator privately should you wish. These users have a range of elevated privileges including the deletion, editing and movement of posts when needed.Teachers: Users in this role are certified teachers. This may include DELTA, CELTA, TESOL, TEFL qualified professionals. Email a scan of your qualification to an admin, if you wish to be considered.
I see. Thanks Clive.
Proficient Speaker: Users in this role are known to maintain an excellent grasp of the English language. You can only be promoted to this role by the Englishforums team.Trusted Users: Trusted users are allowed to use additional capabilities of the site such as private messaging to all users and various other advanced features. You cannot join this role unless you are promoted by an administrator.
Live chat
Registered users can join here