\ ˈded-ˌend \

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 \

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 \

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 \ noun

Examples of dead-end in a Sentence


We came to a dead end and had to turn around. My career has hit a dead end.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

After Republicans hit a dead end trying to repeal the Obama health law, the Trump administration has pushed regulatory actions to loosen requirements and try to lower premiums for individuals and small businesses. NBC News, "Trump unveils new health plan; Democrats call it 'junk insurance'," 19 June 2018 That means genealogy is a dead end for the other 50—for now. Megan Molteni, WIRED, "The Key to Cracking Cold Cases Might Be Genealogy Sites," 1 June 2018 Still, there are signs that some residents know that drugs are a dead end for their town. Washington Post, "In a corner of Spain, a struggle to stop drug smuggling," 3 Apr. 2018 There were a lot of dead ends but eventually Chilton found Garlin Conner, who responded to his query with words that sent Chilton's heart racing. Meg Jones, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Wisconsin veteran helps World War II hero get Medal of Honor," 14 June 2018 This is likely another dead end, at least in the relevant time frame. David Roberts, Vox, "The US is rapidly losing nuclear power. That’s profoundly concerning for climate change.," 11 July 2018 And the notion that Islam can provide all the answers has hit a dead end, whether in the form of strict but obedient Saudi salafism, the political Islam of the Muslim Brotherhood or the murderous jihadism of al-Qaeda and Islamic State. The Economist, "Waiting for the backlashCan Muhammad bin Salman’s gamble work?," 21 June 2018 Liverpool's search for a new goalkeeper ahead of next season has apparently come to a dead end, and fans have been quick to express their outrage on social media., "Liverpool Fans React in Outrage At News Regarding Club's Goalkeeper Search," 13 June 2018 Police were alerted to their shenanigans at about 12:37 a.m. when a neighbor in the 1000 block of 17th Avenue reported seeing the five get out of a car on River Knoll Court, a dead end, just north of the high school athletic fields. Maureen Mertens, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Twenty minutes after teens deny toilet paper intentions to police, the same cop finds them crawling through brush to commit offense," 22 May 2018

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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Dictionary Entries near dead-end

dead duck




dead end


deadening felt

Statistics for dead-end

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for dead-end

The first known use of dead-end was in 1886

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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

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Comments on dead-end

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an open space surrounded by woods

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