fatal

adjective
fa·​tal | \ ˈfā-tᵊl How to pronounce fatal (audio) \

Definition of fatal

1a : causing death a fatal crash a fatal disease a fatal wound
b : bringing ruin a fatal attraction to gambling
c : causing failure a fatal design flaw Lack of sufficient support was fatal to his campaign.
2a : determining one's fate the fatal flaw in this dazzling woman: a total lack of taste— Marya Mannes
b : of or relating to fate … this science sets a fatal necessity on things …— H. O. Taylor
c : resembling fate in proceeding according to a fixed sequence
3 : fateful a fatal hour
4 obsolete : fated

Keep scrolling for more

Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Examples of fatal in a Sentence

a disease that is often fatal a chemical that can be fatal to birds She made a fatal mistake.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web New Orleans police were investigating a fatal shooting in the 2700 block of Marigny Street on Tuesday evening, according to an NOPD spokesperson. Katelyn Umholtz, NOLA.com, "Man killed in shooting in 2700 block of Marigny Street, NOPD says," 19 Jan. 2021 Davis had been arrested multiple times leading up to the fatal shooting. Michael Lee, Washington Examiner, "Accused felon released on reduced bail charged with fatally shooting man days after leaving jail," 18 Jan. 2021 The fatal shooting is Birmingham’s seventh homicide of 2021, and the ninth countywide. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al, "Man found shot to death in middle of busy west Birmingham roadway," 18 Jan. 2021 Sentencing is now scheduled for a 21-year-old woman involved in the fatal shooting of a man who was lured to north Minneapolis for a drug deal. Paul Walsh, Star Tribune, "Woman admits to role in man's shooting death in north Minneapolis," 18 Jan. 2021 Spector was convicted in 2009 of second-degree murder in the fatal shooting of actress Lana Clarkson. Melinda Newman, Billboard, "Darlene Love Remembers Phil Spector: 'If It Wasn't For Phil, There Would Not Be a Darlene Love'," 17 Jan. 2021 John Sullivan, the 26-year-old left-wing activist who recorded up-close video of a woman’s fatal shooting during the Capitol siege Jan. 6, was released without bail on a handful of federal charges. Michael Ruiz, Fox News, "John Sullivan released conditionally without bail by Utah federal judge," 16 Jan. 2021 Rapper YFN Lucci surrendered to police Wednesday, facing multiple charges including murder for a fatal shooting that occurred last month, police say. Hannah Yasharoff, USA TODAY, "Atlanta-based rapper YFN Lucci surrenders to police on murder charges," 15 Jan. 2021 Alex Mendoza, 19, of South Jordan has been charged with murder after the fatal shooting of a man in Salt Lake City. Sara Tabin, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Man charged in Salt Lake City shooting," 15 Jan. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fatal.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of fatal

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4

History and Etymology for fatal

Middle English, from Latin fatalis, from fatum fate

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about fatal

Time Traveler for fatal

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for fatal

Last Updated

26 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Fatal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fatal. Accessed 26 Jan. 2021.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for fatal

fatal

adjective
How to pronounce fatal (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of fatal

: causing death
: causing ruin or failure

fatal

adjective
fa·​tal | \ ˈfā-tᵊl How to pronounce fatal (audio) \

Kids Definition of fatal

1 : causing death : mortal fatal injuries
2 : causing ruin or failure a fatal mistake

Other Words from fatal

fatally adverb

fatal

adjective
fa·​tal | \ ˈfāt-ᵊl How to pronounce fatal (audio) \

Medical Definition of fatal

: causing death a fatal diabetic coma— Havelock Ellis

Other Words from fatal

fatally \ ˈfāt-​ᵊl-​ē How to pronounce fatal (audio) \ adverb

Keep scrolling for more

fatal

adjective
fa·​tal

Legal Definition of fatal

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 : 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

Other Words from fatal

fatally adverb

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on fatal

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

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Slippery Words Quiz—Changing with the Times

  • ducreux self portrait yawning
  • What is an earlier meaning of nice?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

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!