1) Week preceding finals week at American universities, used in reference to the calm before the storm when classes are cancelled. “This year for dead week I am going to catch up on all seven seasons of Weeds, and maybe spend some time studying.”
2) Week preceding finals week at American universities, used in reference to the storm before the storm. “I have five papers due during dead week and five tests during finals, but at least it will all be over after these two weeks.”
3) Week used to signify two weeks before the end of the world, occurring on Dec 21, 2012 “Dead week is coming up, better stock up on canned goods and battle axes.”
University administrators originally founded “dead week” out of compassion for students, cancelling all classes and university-related activities. Over the years, professors complained the semester wasn’t long enough to accommodate all of the content they wished to teach, and students clearly wouldn’t need to study more if professors had an extra week to shower them with wisdom. Today, classes and activities continue as usual during dead week, resulting in literal near-deaths of sleep-deprived students.