to pay the debt of nature


From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

Nature \Na"ture\ (?; 135), n. [F., fr. L. natura, fr. natus
   born, produced, p. p. of nasci to be born. See Nation.]
   1. The existing system of things; the universe of matter,
      energy, time and space; the physical world; all of
      creation. Contrasted with the world of mankind, with its
      mental and social phenomena.
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            But looks through nature up to nature's God. --Pope.
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            When, in the course of human Events, it becomes
            necessary for one People to dissolve the Political
            Bonds which have connected them with another, ans to
            assume among the powers of the earth the separate
            and equal Station which the Laws of Nature and of
            Nature's God entitle them, a decent Respect to the
            Opinions of Mankind requires that they should
            declare the causes that impel them to the
            Separation.                           --Declaration
                                                  of
                                                  Independence

            Nature has caprices which art can not imitate.
                                                  --Macaulay.
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   2. The personified sum and order of causes and effects; the
      powers which produce existing phenomena, whether in the
      total or in detail; the agencies which carry on the
      processes of creation or of being; -- often conceived of
      as a single and separate entity, embodying the total of
      all finite agencies and forces as disconnected from a
      creating or ordering intelligence; as, produced by nature;
      the forces of nature.
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            I oft admire
            How Nature, wise and frugal, could commit
            Such disproportions.                  --Milton.
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   3. The established or regular course of things; usual order
      of events; connection of cause and effect.
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   4. Conformity to that which is natural, as distinguished from
      that which is artificial, or forced, or remote from actual
      experience.
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            One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.
                                                  --Shak.
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   5. The sum of qualities and attributes which make a person or
      thing what it is, as distinct from others; native
      character; inherent or essential qualities or attributes;
      peculiar constitution or quality of being.
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            Thou, therefore, whom thou only canst redeem,
            Their nature also to thy nature join,
            And be thyself man among men on earth. --Milton.
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   6. Hence: Kind, sort; character; quality.
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            A dispute of this nature caused mischief. --Dryden.
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   7. Physical constitution or existence; the vital powers; the
      natural life. "My days of nature." --Shak.
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            Oppressed nature sleeps.              --Shak.
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   8. Natural affection or reverence.
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            Have we not seen
            The murdering son ascend his parent's bed,
            Through violated nature force his way? --Pope.
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   9. Constitution or quality of mind or character.
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            A born devil, on whose nature
            Nurture can never stick.              --Shak.
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            That reverence which is due to a superior nature.
                                                  --Addison.
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   Good nature, Ill nature. see under Good and Ill.

   In a state of nature.
      (a) Naked as when born; nude.
      (b) In a condition of sin; unregenerate.
      (c) Untamed; uncivilized.

   Nature printing, a process of printing from metallic or
      other plates which have received an impression, as by
      heavy pressure, of an object such as a leaf, lace, or the
      like.

   Nature worship, the worship of the personified powers of
      nature.

   To pay the debt of nature, to die.
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