Perish means to die, but it suggests a slow, gradual, nonviolent death. Starving to death is perishing. Getting hit by a bus is just plain getting killed.

Perish is the kind of word you can imagine being spoken by a helpless princess in a fairy tale or any other damsel in distress––"If I am not rescued soon by my valiant knight," she might say, "I shall perish if I'm left alone up here in this tower to starve."

Definitions of perish

v pass from physical life and lose all bodily attributes and functions necessary to sustain life

“The children perished in the fire”
buy the farm, cash in one's chips, choke, conk, croak, decease, die, drop dead, exit, expire, give-up the ghost, go, kick the bucket, pass, pass away, pop off, snuff it
break, break down, conk out, die, fail, give out, give way, go, go bad
stop operating or functioning
suffer or face the pain of death
be born
come into existence through birth
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cease development, die, and be aborted
asphyxiate, stifle, suffocate
be asphyxiated; die from lack of oxygen
buy it, pip out
be killed or die;
die from being submerged in water, getting water into the lungs, and asphyxiating
die before; die earlier than
famish, starve
die of food deprivation
die, as in battle or in a hunt
succumb, yield
be fatally overwhelmed
die from strangulation
Type of:
change state, turn
undergo a transformation or a change of position or action

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