(US campus) a class recitation that is judged to be a total failure.
|Harvard Register in(1856) 378: One must stand up in the singleness of his ignorance to understand all the mysterious feelings connected with a dead.|
|Class Poem at Harvard College 10: And fearful of tomorrow’s screw or dead, / Take the book and candle underneath his bed.|
|College Words (rev. edn) 148: dead. A complete failure; a declaration that one is not prepared to recite.|
(US campus) to fail one’s recitation.
|Harvard Register in(1856) 312: I have a most instinctive dread / Of getting up to take a dead.|