fa·​tal·​i·​ty | \ fā-ˈta-lə-tē How to pronounce fatality (audio) , fə-\
plural fatalities

Definition of fatality

1a : the quality or state of causing death or destruction
b : the quality or condition of being destined for disaster
2 : something established by fate
4 : the agent or agency of fate
5a : death resulting from a disaster
b : one that experiences a fatal outcome

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Synonyms for fatality


casualty, loss, prey, victim

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Examples of fatality in a Sentence

The car crash caused one fatality and several serious injuries. the grim reminder that every holiday weekend inevitably results in a slew of highway fatalities

Recent Examples on the Web

The racehorse fatality rate in the United States is at least double that of racing tracks around the world. Mercury News & East Bay Times Editorial Boards, The Mercury News, "Editorial: California horse-racing deaths demand industry reforms," 5 July 2019 Rick Arthur, equine medical director at both the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and the CHRB, insisted horse fatality rates have dropped in California by 55 percent in the past 12 years. Ron Kroichick, SFChronicle.com, "Horse racing grapples with heavy issues in wake of Hollendorfer ban," 29 June 2019 Since then, the fatality rate at New York Racing Assn. John Cherwa, latimes.com, "Horse deaths at Santa Anita may have implications for entire racing industry," 22 June 2019 Brooklyn sits just across the Patapsco river from Port Covington, in an area that suffers from one of the highest drug and alcohol death rates in Baltimore, which in turn has one of the highest drug fatality rates nationwide. Jeff Ernsthausen, ProPublica, "One Trump Tax Cut Was Meant to Help the Poor. A Billionaire Ended Up Winning Big.," 19 June 2019 And Broward County has one of the highest fatality rates for drownings among children ages 1 to 4. Doreen Christensen, sun-sentinel.com, "Free swim lessons for kids in South Florida," 17 June 2019 In 2018, the fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled — a figure that factors out increases or decreases in total driving — was 1.14. Nathan Bomey, USA TODAY, "2018 was third-deadliest year of the decade on American roads, NHTSA says," 17 June 2019 The highest fatality rates have been in North Kivu, where more than 1,200 have died. Jasmine Aguilera, Time, "Ebola Has Killed 1,300 in DRC and It Just Crossed the Border to Uganda. Here's What to Know About the Outbreak," 14 June 2019 Fishing is one of the most dangerous ways to earn a living: In 2016, the fatality rate was 23 times higher than for all other workers, according to government figures. Cathy Alter, Washington Post, "Connecticut’s last commercial seaport — Stonington — shines in Mystic’s shadow," 7 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fatality.' 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 fatality

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for fatality

Middle French fatalité, from Late Latin fatalitat-, fatalitas, from Latin fatalis

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Dictionary Entries near fatality

fat acid




fatality rate



Statistics for fatality

Last Updated

11 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for fatality

The first known use of fatality was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for fatality



English Language Learners Definition of fatality

: a death that results from a disaster, accident, etc.
: a tendency to result in death


fa·​tal·​i·​ty | \ fā-ˈta-lə-tē How to pronounce fatality (audio) \
plural fatalities

Kids Definition of fatality

: a death resulting from a disaster or accident


fa·​tal·​i·​ty | \ fā-ˈtal-ət-ē, fə- How to pronounce fatality (audio) \
plural fatalities

Medical Definition of fatality

1 : the quality or state of causing death or destruction : deadliness the degree of fatality of a disease
2a : death resulting from a disaster a car crash causing several fatalities
b : one who suffers such a death one of the fatalities was a small child

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More from Merriam-Webster on fatality

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with fatality

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for fatality

Spanish Central: Translation of fatality

Nglish: Translation of fatality for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of fatality for Arabic Speakers

Comments on fatality

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something desired as essential

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