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1.
An expression not to be taken literally.

A dramatic way of explaining the status of being so overworked, stressed out, sleep deprived, and/or having so much schoolwork that a person feels forced to freeze all social interactions for an extended period of time.

Typically used in the form of a declaration, as in "I am now 'dead to the world'"

This expression is especially useful when young people live in close quarters with one another such as in a college dormatory. It is commonly acceptable for a person who declares him/herself "dead to the world" to break off all non-essential communications (such as Facebook) and not to show up to planned events or meetings. No further notice should be required aside from the basic declaration.

It is the sociological equivalent of the automatic stay in Bankruptcy law. In theory, the declaration of one's "death to the world" provides both a convenient excuse and a temporary protective injunction against social obligations or expectations.

This expression is typically written as a Facebook status or on a whiteboard in plain view of its intended audience. Declarants of their death "to the world" should be teased in a friendly or sarcastic way for thinking that by hiding from their friends they will be able to squeeze out an extra ounce of productivity. Declarants should ideally be made to think that declaring death to the world is futile, because a life without friends, even temporarily, is an offense against the fundamental values of humanity. Thus, declaring oneself "dead to the world" presents a paradox. It is a form of self-destruction or sacrifice that simultaneously preserves the self from the shame of failing to meet professional expectations.

If a declarant is caught engaging in a social activity and he/she has not revoked the declaration, he/she must receive harsh scorn from friends. The typical response to such a scenario is to heckle the declarant with the following formulation: "Hey, jerk, you said you were dead to the world!"
"Damn, my boss just gave me some really short deadlines. I'm going to have to declare myself dead to the world in order to survive this."

"X is now dead to the world for the month of August, may God have mercy on his soul."
-scrawled on a dry erase board hanging on X's door inside a college dormatory

"My last year of law school I declared myself dead to the world. My friends never forgave me, but it all worked out in the end."
by Geaux Tigers!!1 August 13, 2009
 
2.
When someone is sleeping soundly, we often say that person is "dead to the world". However, in the deepest sense of the phrase, it applies to a God-realised individual whose divine rapture causes her or him to lose all consciousness of the world and indeed the physical universe. The individual's only point of connection to the world becomes the physical body of which she or he is completely oblivious. In the normal course of events, the body is "dropped" after three days. During this transitional time, the individual is truly "dead to the world", unlike sleeping and deceased individuals who remain very much bound to the physical world through, respectively, the cycle of sleep and wakefulness or the cycle of death and rebirth.
Tom had a six pack of Budweiser and ended up dead to the world on his friend's couch.
by Foreskin Warrior September 09, 2006