killer instinct

noun

Definition of killer instinct

: an aggressive tenacious urge for domination in a struggle to attain a set goal

Examples of killer instinct in a Sentence

Her killer instincts have helped her become one of the top tennis players in the world.
Recent Examples on the Web Many of these come in Act 3, where Catherine's husband, Edgar, gets a Puccini-like aria lacking only in the Italian composer's killer instinct for a clinching melody. Terry Blain Special To The Star Tribune, Star Tribune, "Minnesota Opera hits the 'Heights' once more," 26 Oct. 2020 Until James won his first NBA championship, critics pegged him as someone who wilted under pressure and lacked a killer instinct. Mark Medina, USA TODAY, "Opinion: Stop constantly comparing LeBron James and Michael Jordan. Just appreciate them.," 12 Oct. 2020 But, for all his obvious competitiveness, Davis doesn’t show the almost cruel killer instinct that characterized Bryant on the court. Louisa Thomas, The New Yorker, "Pondering Anthony Davis, the Lakers’ Oddly Enigmatic Star," 7 Oct. 2020 Maurizio Sarri was in no mood for celebration after Juventus picked up three points against Bologna on Saturday, as the Italian boss was left infuriated by his side's lack of killer instinct in front of goal. SI.com, "Maurizio Sarri Blasts Juventus' Lack of Killer Instinct During Nervy Win Over Bologna," 20 Oct. 2019 That is also when his killer instinct began developing on the court. Motez Bishara, CNN, "He was born to play basketball, but for Kobe Bryant that was never enough," 27 Jan. 2020 The killer instinct of this team, maybe for lack of a better term, has been missing for the last few years. Kevin Baxter, Los Angeles Times, "Soccer! Nations League may be a waste of time for the U.S.," 15 Oct. 2019 But arguably more vexing is the offense’s inability to sharpen its killer instinct. Dan Wiederer, chicagotribune.com, "Will the offense start playing its part? 3 keys for the Bears against the Redskins in Week 3.," 22 Sep. 2019 That’s the type of confidence and killer instinct that separates the greats from really goods. Andy Nesbitt, For The Win, "Lamar Jackson is ridiculous in such a great, fun way," 26 Nov. 2019

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

1931, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about killer instinct

Time Traveler for killer instinct

Time Traveler

The first known use of killer instinct was in 1931

See more words from the same year

Statistics for killer instinct

Last Updated

6 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Killer instinct.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/killer%20instinct. Accessed 25 Nov. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for killer instinct

killer instinct

noun

English Language Learners Definition of killer instinct

: a very strong desire to succeed or win

More from Merriam-Webster on killer instinct

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for killer instinct

Comments on killer instinct

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

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

A Thanksgiving Word Quiz

  • a traditional thanksgiving dinner
  • November comes from a word for which of the following numbers?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

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!