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To death vs To the death

to death

1. until death results:

  • Four members of a bushwalking club were burnt to death when trapped by a bush fire.

2. said of smb. sentenced to be executed:

  • The Russian Embassy’s source confirmed that a Russian citizen had been sentenced to death in China.

3. (hyperbolic) utterly; completely:

  • But I see you are tired to death, and will wish you good night.

to the death

1. (of combatants) keep fighting until none is left alive:

  • The British used to admire the men who fought to the death, paying the ultimate price.

2. struggle to the bitter end:

  • What drove them was a corporate culture that made them fight to the death for their firms.