2

Example sentence:

I tugged open the refrigerator. A relatively safe place; I’d never heard of anyone falling inside one and dying __.

What's the correct way of referring to "dying of being frozen"?

  • 4
    We say "freeze to death". – GEdgar Aug 29 '17 at 1:39
  • 1
    The usual idiom is "froze to death" (even though the body may not actually freeze). This would be death due to hypothermia. – Hot Licks Aug 29 '17 at 1:41
  • (And, actually, deaths inside refrigerators and freezers were quite common at one time, before laws changed to require them to be openable from the inside.) – Hot Licks Aug 29 '17 at 1:42
  • @Hot Licks Really? I've never seen a refrigerator where a human could fit. stagemyownhome.com/images/fridgewithfood.jpg – alex Aug 29 '17 at 2:04
  • 2
    @alex: It was typically kids playing in abandoned fridges and becoming trapped. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Refrigerator_death – Jon Purdy Aug 29 '17 at 2:34
3

There are two colloquial phrases you could use here.

1. Freeze to death

In your sentence this would be:

I tugged open the refrigerator. A relatively safe place; I’d never heard of anyone falling inside one and freezing to death.

In reality you'd be dead long before your whole body froze. But it's a common phrase, with over 450,000 google hits.

2. Hypothermia

In your sentence this would be:

I tugged open the refrigerator. A relatively safe place; I’d never heard of anyone falling inside one and dying of hypothermia.

Technically "hypothermia" just means "subnormal body temperature" (ref: dictionary.com). Wikipedia defines it as "a body core temperature below 35.0 °C (95.0 °F)" and states in a picture caption: "During Napoleon Bonaparte's retreat from Russia in the winter of 1812, many troops died from hypothermia".

It doesn't have to be freezing to reduce your body temperature that low, and just because your body temperature gets that low doesn't guarantee you'll die. Although it is possible to die from your body temperature being too low, "hypothermia" is not analogous with "dying of being frozen". But then in a refrigerator it shouldn't get as low as freezing temperatures anyway, so it is probably appropriate for your situation.

  • Not hypothermia, though. The use of hypothermia in the Wiki article refers to the medical condition defined by the term. – Kris Aug 30 '17 at 9:56
  • 1
    Those who are "frozen to death" may not necessarily have died of hypothermia. And those who die of hypothermia may not have frozen to death. The concepts are similar but quite different. HTH. – Kris Aug 31 '17 at 12:03
  • Thanks for the clarification. I've edited the answer with this in mind. – AndyT Aug 31 '17 at 14:07
0

The term you're looking for is "hypothermia".

  • Have you checked the word in a dictionary? – Kris Aug 29 '17 at 6:25
  • 1
    We're looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Please explain why your answer is right, ideally with citations. Answers that don't include explanations may be removed. – NVZ Aug 29 '17 at 9:07

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.