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 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 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, 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, 22 June 2017 Molly's dreams of a linguistic paradise were mortintoj as a doornail. Ken Jennings, Condé Nast Traveler, 20 Mar. 2017 See More

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.

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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Dictionary Entries Near doornail

door money



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Last Updated

1 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Doornail.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Aug. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on doornail

Britannica English: Translation of doornail for Arabic Speakers


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