fatal

adjective
fa·​tal | \ˈfā-tᵊl \

Definition of fatal 

1 obsolete : fated

2 : fateful a fatal hour

3a : of or relating to fate … this science sets a fatal necessity on things …— H. O. Taylor

b : resembling fate in proceeding according to a fixed sequence

c : determining one's fate the fatal flaw in this dazzling woman: a total lack of taste— Marya Mannes

4a : 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.

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Consequences of CEOs’ missteps can prove fatal, or leave a permanent dent in corporate reputation. John D. Stoll, WSJ, "The CEO’s Guide to Prime-Time Survival: No Hard Swallows," 17 Nov. 2018 High levels can prove fatal, with approximately 450 people dying every year of CO poisoning, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "SAFETY ALERT: Your Carbon Monoxide Alarm Probably Just Expired This Year," 21 Sep. 2018 Numbers suggest ruptured brain aneurysms prove fatal in about 40 percent of cases, and 66 percent of survivors demonstrate some permanent neurological deficit, according to the Brain Aneurysm Foundation. David Haugh, The Seattle Times, "Laughter, optimism surround ex-Mariner Danny Farquhar after brain aneurysm," 17 July 2018 Numbers suggest ruptured brain aneurysms prove fatal in about 40 percent of cases, and 66 percent of survivors demonstrate some permanent neurological deficit, according to the Brain Aneurysm Foundation. David Haugh, chicagotribune.com, "Operating on Danny Farquhar's brain didn't change what was in White Sox pitcher's heart," 12 July 2018 Heat emergencies can lead to serious illness and in extreme cases prove fatal. Trihealth, Cincinnati.com, "Protect yourself from heat-related illness," 25 June 2018 For a team like the Phillies, who may end up on the playoff bubble, this shortfall could prove fatal. Bob Brookover, Philly.com, "Phillies look a lot like St. Louis Cardinals | Extra Innings," 18 June 2018 By then, inattentive patient care in Bedford had already proved fatal to one resident. USA TODAY, "Secret VA nursing home ratings hide poor quality care from the public," 17 June 2018 Like drunken driving, domestic violence is a scourge in Bexar County, one that can foreshadow other crimes and prove fatal to its victims. Brian Chasnoff, San Antonio Express-News, "DA dismissed charge against deputy," 12 June 2018

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.

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First Known Use of fatal

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for fatal

Middle English, from Latin fatalis, from fatum fate

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Dictionary Entries near fatal

fast worker

fat

fat acid

fatal

fatalism

fatality

fatality rate

Statistics for fatal

Last Updated

10 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for fatal

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

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More Definitions for fatal

fatal

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of fatal

: causing death

: causing ruin or failure

fatal

adjective
fa·​tal | \ˈfā-tᵊl \

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 \

Medical Definition of fatal 

: causing death a fatal diabetic coma— Havelock Ellis

Other Words from fatal

fatally \ˈfāt-​ᵊl-​ē \ adverb

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on fatal

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with fatal

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for fatal

Spanish Central: Translation of fatal

Nglish: Translation of fatal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of fatal for Arabic Speakers

Comments on fatal

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