It's somehow difficult to understand what you mean... Maybe a link to your site would help.
That's simple: Delete your categories. Categories without entries are useless.
A category is a category. What's the sense of two names for the same category or a "dead" category?Instead I want have a "dead" category that simply links to one of the categories that use the proper word. Can I do this? How can I redirect a category link to another cartgory?
Maybe you mean mother and child categories? You can configure this under Content/Categories.
Category "live" (mother)
- Category "dead" (child)
This shows in "live"-category all entries of "live" and "death". Even if "death" have no articels...
Hope it helps.