Word Confusion: Dyeing versus Dying

Posted December 1, 2014 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Editing, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

There is a wealth of difference between dyeing and dying. My personal preference is dyeing. It’s definitely something I can come back from. I may be spattered and multi-colored, but I’ll be alive to dye another day.

Unlike dying. If I die today, I won’t be coming back tomorrow.

Consider the following:
I’m just dyeing to see you.

Wait, you have to dye some fabric before you can see me? Or, you have to change colors to see me?

I’m just dying to see you.

I can’t wait. I can barely stand it.

He’s dyeing.

Ooh, pretty! What colors?

He’s dying.

That’s so sad.

Word Confusions…

…started as my way of dealing with a professional frustration with properly spelled words that were out of context in manuscripts I was editing as well as books I was reviewing. It evolved into a sharing of information with y’all. I’m hoping you’ll share with us words that have been a bête noir for you from either end.

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Dyeing Dying
Credit to: Dictionary.com: dyeing and dying

“Dye, Natural Blue” courtesy of Salvor and Wikimedia Commons

Woman using natural materials for dyeing.

Bismarck on his deathbed

“Bismarck on His Deathbed” by Willy Wilcke und Max Christian Priester [Spiegel 28/1998 (PDF) is in the public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Bismarck is dying in his bed.

Part of Grammar:
Present participle of dye

Noun 1;
Verb 2, intransitive & transitive

Plural for the noun and third person present verb: dyes
Past tense or past participle: dyed
Gerund or present participle: dyeing

Present participle of die

Adjective 1; Noun 1;
Verb, intransitive 2

Plural for the noun: dies, dice
Third person present verb: dies
Past tense or past participle: died
Gerund or present participle: dying

Process of coloring fibers, yarns, or fabrics

Verb, intransitive:
To impart color, as a dye

To become colored or absorb color when treated with a dye

Verb, transitive:
To color or stain

  • Treat with a dye
  • Color cloth, hair, etc., with a substance containing coloring matter

To impart color by means of a dye

Ceasing to live

  • Approaching death
  • Expiring

Of, pertaining to, or associated with death

Given, uttered, or manifested just before death

Drawing to a close

  • Ending

The act or process of ceasing to live, ending, or drawing to a close

Verb, intransitive:
To cease to live

  • Undergo the complete and permanent cessation of all vital functions
  • Become dead

[Of something inanimate] To cease to exist

To lose force, strength, or active qualities

To cease to function

  • Stop

To be no longer subject

  • Become indifferent

To pass gradually

  • Fade or subside gradually (usually followed by away, out, or down)

[Theology] To lose spiritual life

Did you get the dyeing done?

Verb, intransitive:
This brand is dyeing well.

This cloth is dyeing easily.

I love dyeing with a mud bucket.

Verb, transitive:
The coloring matter is dyeing greener than I expected.

a dying man

his dying hour

her dying words

the dying year

Dying is inevitable.

Verb, intransitive:
The laughter died on his lips.

C’mon, laugh already. I’m dying out here.

The motor is dying.

dying to worldly matters

The storm slowly is dying down.

href: theWord Adjective: half-dying
Phrasal Verb
phrasal phrasal
History of the Word:
1 First known use: before 1000

Middle English and Old English dēagunge

2 First known use: before 1000

Middle English dien, Old English dēagian, derivative of dēag

1 First known use: 1250-1300, Middle English

2 First known use: 1150-1200

Middle English dien, deien from the Old Norse deyja.

C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves? Also, please note that I try to be as accurate as I can, but mistakes happen or I miss something. Email me if you find errors, so I can fix them…and we’ll all benefit!

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Pinterest Photo Credits:

The Real Excited Pose“, which is Jjarivera’s own work in the public domain, discovers “It’s Not An Old Wives Tale After All!” by Miia Ranta from Finland, which is under the CC BY-SA 2.0 license, via Wikimedia Commons.