death blow

noun
variants: or deathblow \ ˈdeth-​ˌblō How to pronounce death blow (audio) \

Definition of death blow

1 : a forcible stroke that kills a living thing : an act that ends the life of a person or animal A gaping wound in the back of his head suggests the death blow was delivered by a halberd, a bladed pole weapon favored in the 15th century.— Rachel Ehrenberg … the tooth helps to dislocate the prey's neck vertebrae, the death blow most often dealt to small mammals and birds.— Sarah A. Sloane
2 : an act or event that causes the end or failure of something It shows how investors with risky business plans, unrealistic financial assumptions, and competing agendas can deliver a death blow to companies that otherwise could have survived.— Emily Thornton Nevis's fortunes declined after 1822, when the European sugar beet dealt a deathblow to the distant, inefficient cane mills of the Indies.— Peter Theroux

Examples of death blow in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Concerned workers worry that the second lockdown could be a deathblow to their already struggling industry. Hollie Silverman, CNN, 23 Nov. 2020 By then, Russians were poised to deliver the deathblow to Hitler’s regime in Berlin—and dominate Eastern Europe for decades to come. National Geographic, 7 May 2020 Any failure to act on the recommendation of UEFA investigators would most likely be seen as a deathblow to the organization’s efforts to impose financial controls on its member clubs. Tariq Panja, New York Times, 13 Feb. 2020 Any failure to act on the recommendation of UEFA investigators would most likely be seen as a deathblow to the organization’s efforts to impose financial controls on its member clubs. Tariq Panja, New York Times, 13 Feb. 2020 Any failure to act on the recommendation of UEFA investigators would most likely be seen as a deathblow to the organization’s efforts to impose financial controls on its member clubs. Tariq Panja, New York Times, 13 Feb. 2020 Any failure to act on the recommendation of UEFA investigators would most likely be seen as a deathblow to the organization’s efforts to impose financial controls on its member clubs. Tariq Panja, New York Times, 13 Feb. 2020 Any failure to act on the recommendation of UEFA investigators would most likely be seen as a deathblow to the organization’s efforts to impose financial controls on its member clubs. Tariq Panja, New York Times, 13 Feb. 2020 Any failure to act on the recommendation of UEFA investigators would most likely be seen as a deathblow to the organization’s efforts to impose financial controls on its member clubs. Tariq Panja, New York Times, 13 Feb. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'death blow.' 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 death blow

circa 1586, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for death blow

Time Traveler

The first known use of death blow was circa 1586

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Dictionary Entries Near death blow

death bill

death blow

death board

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Cite this Entry

“Death blow.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/death%20blow. Accessed 29 Nov. 2021.

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More Definitions for death blow

death blow

noun

English Language Learners Definition of death blow

: an act that kills a person or animal
: an act or event that causes the end of something

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