What difference does "completely" make in the following?

The species died out completely in the 18th century.

I'd appreciate your help.


To die out means to gradually go out of existence. The adverb completely marks the end-state of that process.

You could say:

The species began to die out in the late 17th century and had completely died out by the middle of the 18th century.

  • But it seems that "die out" alone means completely going out of existence by default. E,g, This species has nearly died out because its habitat is being destroyed. Does the "gradually" part of the meaning only work when it is used with expressions such as "begin to? – Apollyon Jun 30 '18 at 2:15
  • No, the verb refers to a process of gradually going out of existence even when begin is not involved. When all of the fish in a river die overnight because a factory discharged toxic waste into the river, the fish cannot be said to have died out. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jun 30 '18 at 12:10

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