I know that usually, when you talk about someone dying, you say, 'なくなりました' to be polite and, '死にました' to literally just say they died.

So, I was wondering if you could use 死にました for things other than people, such as for animals or plants as なくなりました would probably sound a bit strange?

  • Actually shouldn't it be いなくなりました, as one would be using 居るinstead of 有る when talking about a human?
    – Chewie
    Mar 21, 2018 at 12:15
  • 6
    @Chewie, the verb is 亡くなる, which is an inflection of 亡い which means dead. It is related to the word 無い "nonexistent", but it's its own word.
    – bcloutier
    Mar 21, 2018 at 12:17

1 Answer 1


So, long story short is that you can say that, but it may sound a little unnatural.

The post above references using なくなる, but it does give relevant answers to your question:

For plants: 「枯れる」 - "to wither", for animals: 「死んでしまう」 - "to die/pass away", for people: 「死んでしまう/亡くなる」 - "to die/pass away".

  • 1
    The OP's question wasn't about whether you could use 亡くなる but rather about whether you could use 死ぬ for things other than people.
    – kandyman
    Mar 21, 2018 at 12:37
  • It was, wasn't it? Let me fix that...
    – bcloutier
    Mar 21, 2018 at 12:38
  • Jisho.org lists 枯れる as meaning both "wither" and "die." Something can wither without dying and die without withering. Is there a word that could specifically refer to a plant's dying?
    – NattoYum
    Apr 1, 2023 at 17:35

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