Instead of using "very", which is annoyingly too common, would it not sound awkward if I use "dead"+adjective:

My friends would be dead impressed if they saw me wearing the latest Prada bag that cost 1.2 billion dollars!

I am no native English speaker and I am sure if this is valid because when I google the word combination, nothing appeared.

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    [would it sound awkward: would not will] impressed to death, not dead impressed.
    – Lambie
    Aug 15, 2019 at 15:59
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    @JohnArvin why isn't "My friends would be impressed..." adequate? You avoided the over-use of "very". Aug 15, 2019 at 17:50
  • @WeatherVane, I'm trying to intensify my wordings simply because I need it for an English exam and want it, actually.
    – John Arvin
    Aug 16, 2019 at 6:05

2 Answers 2


I would use with caution. Its not really proper English but is used quite commonly among the less well spoken population.

It is becoming more common, but (in my opinion) should not used as an adverb at all.

I'm not sure why you couldn't find it on google. I tried "dead as an adverb" and there were plenty of results. E.g. Oxford Learners Dictionary

Note that the first definition is completely, which does sit better with me than very.

  • Have you? Please send me the link here if you have, it should be "dead impressed" in combination.
    – John Arvin
    Aug 16, 2019 at 6:07
  • @john, not in combination, there is no need for that. Please see the link I have provided on my answer
    – Gamora
    Aug 16, 2019 at 7:09

I gather you're extrapolating from the use of "dead" as an intensifier in other expressions such as "dead certain" or "dead on" (as well as "dead right", "dead on time", etc.) where "dead" means "absolutely" or "perfectly". In English as in any language, you can apply the idiomatic use to a new context, but you may confuse your audience.

I would understand what you meant by "dead impressed", especially if spoken with positive intonation, but I would assume it was slang from somewhere other than where I'm from. A similar example is the Boston (US) use of "wicked", as in:

My boy's wicked smart

Given the previous dialogue from the linked movie, it's obvious even to someone not from Boston that "wicked" means "extraordinarily". In the same way your use of "dead" is fine, but it depends on the context.

Note: You may not find examples of "dead impressed" as an idiom, but instead try "dead sexy" and there will be many.

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    I don't think it's really a matter of "extrapolating" dead impressed from related usages such as dead certain, dead centre, dead right. To my mind, they really are just the same usage - it's just that all such "intensifier" usages are considered to be somewhat "colloquial, slangy" today (but I don't think this was always the case, and I doubt there was ever a time when He's dead serious was seen as a "colloquial" alternative to He's deadly serious). Aug 15, 2019 at 16:39
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    It really does not work at all. Why not just say so? impressed to death, you didn't even mention.
    – Lambie
    Aug 15, 2019 at 16:40
  • But why not use "really"?
    – AIQ
    Aug 15, 2019 at 16:43
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    @FumbleFingers Right, I knew I heard "dead" used as an intensifier in many contexts, but I couldn't recall specific examples. Or perhaps I just blocked out "I'm dead sexy!" from the movie Austin Powers 2.
    – Andrew
    Aug 15, 2019 at 16:55
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    The use of 'dead' as an intensifier in informal speech was very common where I grew up in London in the 1950s. We all used to laugh at the warning notice outside the local bus garage that warned (without punctuation) 'Dead Slow Buses Turning'. if it is being used again then it is a case of what goes around comes around.
    – JeremyC
    Aug 15, 2019 at 21:53

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