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

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.
Recent Examples on the Web Polevich pleaded guilty in May to two felony charges, including leaving the scene of a fatal crash and tampering with physical evidence. Rachel Desantis, Peoplemag, 3 Aug. 2022 Florence police have arrested a man on manslaughter charges in connection with a fatal automobile crash that happened more than a year ago. William Thornton | Wthornton@al.com, al, 1 Aug. 2022 The latest fatal crash occurred Sunday in Bridgeport. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 1 Aug. 2022 One of those deliveries was to Ethiopian Airlines, one of the two airlines that suffered a fatal crash with the plane. Chris Isidore, CNN, 27 July 2022 Wisconsin Senate Democratic Minority Leader Janet Bewley was involved in a fatal car crash Friday that left a 27-year-old mother from Pennsylvania and her 5-year-old daughter dead, police said Monday. CBS News, 26 July 2022 Senate Minority Leader Janet Bewley was involved in a fatal car crash Friday that left a mother and her 5-year-old daughter dead. Molly Beck, Journal Sentinel, 25 July 2022 As a result of the initial fatal crash, multiple other crashes occurred. The Indianapolis Star, 25 July 2022 Officers responded early Sunday to the scene of a fatal crash that has led to a homicide investigation, according to a Facebook post from the Jonesboro Police Department. Remington Miller, Arkansas Online, 24 July 2022 See More

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.

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

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Time Traveler for fatal

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near fatal

fat acid



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Statistics for fatal

Last Updated

6 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Fatal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fatal. Accessed 8 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for fatal


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


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



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

More from Merriam-Webster on fatal

Nglish: Translation of fatal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of fatal for Arabic Speakers


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