door·​nail | \ ˈdȯr-ˌnāl How to pronounce doornail (audio) , -ˈnāl \

Definition of doornail

: a large-headed nail used chiefly in the phrase dead as a doornail

Examples of doornail in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web That means that plants that were able to withstand -22 degrees on Monday were killed dead as a doornail on Thursday by exposure to +9 degrees. Paul Cappiello, The Courier-Journal, "'Winter' has been a roller coaster this year. What this meteorological whiplash means," 7 Feb. 2020 After all, the American Health Care Act (AHCA) seemed dead as a doornail right up until the House of Representatives passed it on a 217-213 vote last month following an initial failure. Sy Mukherjee, Fortune, "Can the Senate’s Health Care Bill Actually Pass?," 22 June 2017 Molly's dreams of a linguistic paradise were mortintoj as a doornail. Ken Jennings, Condé Nast Traveler, "Moresnet Sits at the 'Four Corners of Europe'—But No One Visits It," 20 Mar. 2017

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

14th century, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of doornail was in the 14th century

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Cite this Entry

“Doornail.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 May. 2021.

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More from Merriam-Webster on doornail

Britannica English: Translation of doornail for Arabic Speakers

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