\ ˈded-ˌend How to pronounce dead-end (audio) \

Definition of dead-end

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : lacking opportunities especially for advancement a dead-end job
b : lacking an exit a dead-end street
2 : unruly dead-end kids


\ ˈded-ˈend How to pronounce dead-end (audio) \
dead-ended; dead-ending; dead-ends

Definition of dead-end (Entry 2 of 3)

intransitive verb

: to come to a dead end : terminate the road dead-ends at the lake the investigation dead-ended

dead end

\ ˈded-ˈend How to pronounce dead end (audio) \

Definition of dead end (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : an end (as of a street) without an exit
2 : a position, situation, or course of action that leads to nothing further

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Other Words from dead-end


dead-endedness \ ˌded-​ˈen-​dəd-​nəs How to pronounce dead end (audio) \ noun

Examples of dead-end in a Sentence

Noun We came to a dead end and had to turn around. My career has hit a dead end.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Less than a month after Lewis was killed, the investigation hit a dead end. Mick Dumke, ProPublica, "“Power Companies Get Exactly What They Want”: How Texas Repeatedly Failed to Protect Its Power Grid Against Extreme Weather," 28 Feb. 2021 The conventional sales strategy of selling to cocktail bars seemed like a dead end. Esther Mobley, San Francisco Chronicle, "Move over, Aperol spritz: Sunny, breezy California aperitifs are the chic Millennial's new drink of choice," 5 Feb. 2021 Equal Opportunity complaints, current and former servicemembers say, is often a dead end, resulting in little action, or worse, backfiring on the complainant. NBC News, "The Pentagon has sat on racial discrimination survey data for years," 18 Dec. 2020 His election challenges near a dead end, President Donald Trump spent Saturday tweeting grievances, commiserating with supporters, attacking fellow Republicans, and flying to upstate New York for the Army-Navy football game. David Jackson, USA TODAY, "Trump rails against Barr, Kemp, other Republicans over election loss ahead of Army-Navy game," 12 Dec. 2020 On an overcast but mild morning in late October, Nathan Harrington pulled up at a dead end in the southern reaches of D.C. Washington Post, "A fight for forest equity in Southeast D.C. takes on new urgency amid pandemic," 5 Dec. 2020 At one point, O'Neil reached a dead end and abandoned his vehicle. Haley Victory Smith, Washington Examiner, "San Francisco officer charged with on-duty homicide, DA's office calls it a first," 24 Nov. 2020 In overlooking the many forms that meritocracy takes, Sandel perpetuates the myth that vocational education is a dead end. New York Times, "Meritocracy, Silicon Valley and Other Letters to the Editor," 4 Dec. 2020 Trump’s supporters in Israel, however, say his hard-line tactics have taught Palestinians that their history of rejecting peace offers has led them to a diplomatic dead end. Steve Hendrix, Washington Post, "After Trump’s dramatic tilt toward Israel, Biden likely to restore traditional approach," 8 Nov. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dead-end.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of dead-end


1919, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1944, in the meaning defined above


1886, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for dead-end

Time Traveler

The first known use of dead-end was in 1886

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Statistics for dead-end

Cite this Entry

“Dead-end.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for dead-end

dead end


English Language Learners Definition of dead end

: a street that ends instead of joining with another street so that there is only one way in and out of it
: a situation, plan, or way of doing something that leads to nothing further

dead end


Kids Definition of dead end

: an end (as of a street) with no way out

More from Merriam-Webster on dead-end

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for dead-end

Nglish: Translation of dead-end for Spanish Speakers

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