door·​nail ˈdȯr-ˌnāl How to pronounce doornail (audio)
: a large-headed nail
used chiefly in the phrase dead as a doornail

Examples of doornail in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Dead as a doornail. David Gilbert, The New Yorker, 10 Oct. 2022 The pangrams from yesterday’s Spelling Bee were doornail and ordinal. Ashley Wu, New York Times, 8 Sep. 2022 The film itself seems to be Death's next target, dead as a doornail. Michael Lee Simpson,, 31 Oct. 2022 These phrases catch on, are picked up by a host of people, and quickly become trite or dead as a doornail (itself a cliché) as their originality and cleverness vanish into thin air (another cliché). Richard Lederer, San Diego Union-Tribune, 23 July 2022 Biden’s critical race theory: racist, wrong and dead as a doornail. Luke Broadwater, New York Times, 16 May 2022 Old Marley was dead as a doornail, and so was the Great Dickens Christmas Fair, which up until the COVID-19 lockdown had transformed the Cow Palace exhibition hall into lamplit Victorian London. Sam Whiting, San Francisco Chronicle, 5 Dec. 2021 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'doornail.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near doornail

Cite this Entry

“Doornail.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Feb. 2024.

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