fa·​tal·​i·​ty | \fā-ˈta-lə-tē, 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

Though there were no fatalities, the mishaps were significant enough in most cases to receive media coverage and be addressed publicly by China’s aviation authority and the airlines involved. Trefor Moss, WSJ, "Engine Trouble: Chinese Airline Mishaps Put Spotlight on Pilots," 24 Nov. 2018 King County reports 155 bus-pedestrian collisions of all types, ranging from noninjury incidents to fatalities, from 2012-17, and $22.8 million in payouts to 68 injured people. Mike Lindblom, The Seattle Times, "Metro says fatal Westlake Avenue bus-pedestrian crash was preventable, agrees to $7.7M settlement," 26 Oct. 2018 Commercial plane crashes resulting in fatalities, though tragic, are incredibly rare. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "10 Tips on How to Survive a Plane Crash (Although They're Really Rare)," 13 Oct. 2018 That strain tended to send people to the hospital and result in fatalities, particularly among those who are vulnerable, such as young children and the elderly. Elizabeth Zwirz, Fox News, "Flu season last winter killed the most people since the 1970s, CDC says," 26 Sep. 2018 Authorities said there had been multiple fatalities at the scene, and others had been transported, presumably, to local hospitals. Emily Stewart, Vox, "Shooting at Jacksonville, Florida video game tournament: What we know so far," 26 Aug. 2018 In addition to the fatality, driver Syed Muzaffar also seriously injured Liu's mother, Huan Hua Kuang, and her five-year-old brother, Anthony, while driving a Honda Pilot SUV through a crosswalk at Polk and Ellis Streets. Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica, "Uber driver who struck, killed young girl is convicted of vehicular manslaughter," 4 Aug. 2018 In the 1970s, 60 percent of traffic fatalities in the US involved alcohol use. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Car crashes killed 37,133 people in the US in 2017," 3 Oct. 2018 There’s channels in there where people are looking at vehicular traffic fatality data, where people are looking at gerrymandering, voter registration. Recode Staff, Recode, "Full transcript: Data for Democracy policy head Renée DiResta answers disinformation questions on Too Embarrassed to Ask," 14 July 2018

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

12 Dec 2018

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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 \
plural fatalities

Kids Definition of fatality

: a death resulting from a disaster or accident


fa·​tal·​i·​ty | \fā-ˈtal-ət-ē, fə- \
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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having a pattern of small flowers

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