fatal

play
adjective fa·tal \ˈfā-təl\

Definition of fatal

  1. 1 obsolete :  fated

  2. 2 :  fateful a fatal hour

  3. 3a :  of or relating to fate … this science sets a fatal necessity on things … — H. O. Taylorb :  resembling fate in proceeding according to a fixed sequencec :  determining one's fate the fatal flaw in this dazzling woman: a total lack of taste — Marya Mannes

  4. 4a :  causing death a fatal crash a fatal disease a fatal woundb :  bringing ruin a fatal attraction to gamblingc :  causing failure a fatal design flaw Lack of sufficient support was fatal to his campaign.

Examples of fatal in a sentence

  1. a disease that is often fatal

  2. a chemical that can be fatal to birds

  3. She made a fatal mistake.

Origin and Etymology of fatal

Middle English, from Latin fatalis, from fatum fate


First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of fatal

deadly, mortal, fatal, lethal mean causing or capable of causing death. deadly applies to an established or very likely cause of death. a deadly disease mortal implies that death has occurred or is inevitable. a mortal wound fatal stresses the inevitability of what has in fact resulted in death or destruction. fatal consequences lethal applies to something that is bound to cause death or exists for the destruction of life. lethal gas

FATAL Defined for English Language Learners

fatal

play
adjective fa·tal \ˈfā-təl\

Definition of fatal for English Language Learners

  • : causing death

  • : causing ruin or failure


FATAL Defined for Kids

fatal

play
adjective fa·tal \ˈfā-təl\

Definition of fatal for Students

  1. 1 :  causing death :  mortal fatal injuries

  2. 2 :  causing ruin or failure a fatal mistake

fatally

adverb

Medical Dictionary

fatal

play
adjective fa·tal \ˈfāt-əl\

Medical Definition of fatal

  1. :  causing death a fatal diabetic coma—Havelock Ellis

fatally

\ˈfāt-əl-ē\play adverb

Law Dictionary

fatal

adjective fa·tal

Legal Definition of fatal

  1. 1 :  causing failure of a legal claim or cause of action a fatal defect in the proceedings — W. R. LaFave and J. H. Israel

  2. 2 :  making something (as a contract) invalid or unenforceable there is a fatal indefiniteness with the result that the agreement is void — J. D. Calamari and J. M. Perillo

fatally

adverb


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up fatal? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

a person who is a bore or nuisance

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

  • peter-bruegel-tower-of-babel-painting
  • What language does pajama come from?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!