adjective fa·tal \ˈfā-təl\

: causing death

: causing ruin or failure

Full Definition of FATAL

obsolete :  fated
:  fateful <a fatal hour>
a :  of or relating to fate
b :  resembling fate in proceeding according to a fixed sequence
c :  determining one's fate
a :  causing death
b :  bringing ruin <a fatal attraction to gambling>
c :  causing failure <a fatal design flaw>

Examples of FATAL

  1. a disease that is often fatal
  2. a chemical that can be fatal to birds
  3. She made a fatal mistake.

Origin of FATAL

Middle English, from Latin fatalis, from fatum fate
First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of FATAL

deadly, mortal, fatal, lethal mean causing or capable of causing death. deadly applies to an established or very likely cause of death <a deadly disease>. mortal implies that death has occurred or is inevitable <a mortal wound>. fatal stresses the inevitability of what has in fact resulted in death or destruction <fatal consequences>. lethal applies to something that is bound to cause death or exists for the destruction of life <lethal gas>.

Rhymes with FATAL

FATAL Defined for Kids


adjective fa·tal \ˈfā-təl\

Definition of FATAL for Kids

:  causing death :  mortal <fatal injuries>
:  causing ruin or failure <a fatal mistake>
fa·tal·ly adverb
Medical Dictionary


adjective fa·tal \ˈfāt-əl\

Medical Definition of FATAL

:  causing death <a fatal diabetic coma—Havelock Ellis>
fa·tal·ly \ˈfāt-əl-ē\ adverb


Next Word in the Dictionary: fatalismPrevious Word in the Dictionary: fat acidAll Words Near: fatal
How to use a word that (literally) drives some people nuts.
Test your vocab with our fun, fast game
Ailurophobia, and 9 other unusual fears