\ 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 \
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 \

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

Experts have pointed to the lack of town planning in the worst affected area of the seaside resort of Mati as a contributing factor, with narrow streets, numerous dead ends and no clear way to get to the sea. Fox News, "Greece's PM promises full investigation of deadly fire," 7 Aug. 2018 Another letter came from a man in Europe who had emigrated seven years ago because Brazil was a dead end. Mary Anastasia O’grady, WSJ, "Brazil’s Primal Scream," 6 Jan. 2019 Your hair won't be weighed down by dead ends and the results will leave you with flowing locks. Jillian Ruffo, Seventeen, "8 Insanely Easy Tips For The Softest Hair Of Your Life," 28 Nov. 2018 Lie detector tests or interrogations, or is that kind of a dead end? Fox News, "Ken Starr: Impeachment is hell," 11 Sep. 2018 The helicopter crash, on the other hand, is a narrative dead end, merely adumbrating the portrait that Mr. Davenport will draw of Mr. Bezos as unflappable. Randall Stross, WSJ, "Stargazers See a Business Plan," 15 Apr. 2018 At one time or another, most of us have probably left a bar weaving from side to side, turning the wrong corners, or finding ourselves at unexpected dead ends. Ken Jennings, Condé Nast Traveler, "Pass Through a Maze to Enter This Bar in India? Challenge Accepted," 16 July 2018 The chase ended where Hammerly dead ends into Addicks Reservoir, as two men and a woman jumped out of the car. Keri Blakinger, Houston Chronicle, "3 robbery suspects in custody after overnight police chase in NW Houston," 3 June 2018 Two fissures were found Tuesday but proved to be dead ends. NBC News, "Rescue of Thai soccer team trapped in cave complicated by heavy rains," 27 June 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

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on dead-end

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with dead-end

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for dead-end

Spanish Central: Translation of dead-end

Nglish: Translation of dead-end for Spanish Speakers

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excited commotion or publicity

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