death blow

noun
variants: or deathblow \ˈdeth-ˌblō \

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

Matt Shupe, a spokesman for Cox, said that the non-endorsement amounts to a deathblow for Allen’s campaign. Joshua Stewart, sandiegouniontribune.com, "As vote-by-mail ballots prepare to ship, the state GOP won't endorse a candidate for governor," 6 May 2018 The defeat was not a deathblow, however, as Moss and Breidenbach will have a second backdraw match Friday back at Ventura College at 1 p.m. to solidify a spot to Ojai. Andrew J. Campa, latimes.com, "Glendale college's men's tennis sending contingent to Ojai," 8 Apr. 2018 Emily Jeffers, an attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity, called the decision a deathblow for walrus off Alaska shores. Dan Joling, Fox News, "Lawsuit filed after US fails to list walruses as threatened," 8 Mar. 2018 The White House was also silent about the long-term implications of the referendum, which some experts have likened to a deathblow to democracy in Turkey. Charles P. Pierce, Esquire, "President* Trump Just Placed America in Interesting Company," 18 Apr. 2017 The White House was also silent about the long-term implications of the referendum, which some experts have likened to a deathblow to democracy in Turkey. Charles P. Pierce, Esquire, "President* Trump Just Placed America in Interesting Company," 18 Apr. 2017 The White House was also silent about the long-term implications of the referendum, which some experts have likened to a deathblow to democracy in Turkey. Charles P. Pierce, Esquire, "President* Trump Just Placed America in Interesting Company," 18 Apr. 2017 The White House was also silent about the long-term implications of the referendum, which some experts have likened to a deathblow to democracy in Turkey. Charles P. Pierce, Esquire, "President* Trump Just Placed America in Interesting Company," 18 Apr. 2017 No, the final loss of the Clippers’ season, and perhaps the end of an era, came quietly, tediously, sadly, with dead legs delivering the deathblow. Ben Golliver, SI.com, "With Explosive Summer On The Horizon, The Clippers Exit Playoffs Quietly," 1 May 2017

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

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The first known use of death blow was circa 1586

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