killer instinct


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

Example Sentences

Her killer instincts have helped her become one of the top tennis players in the world.
Recent Examples on the Web This team needs to work on a killer instinct. Ken Goe For The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, 12 Sep. 2021 What makes Sam the Evolved Final Girl is precisely her killer instinct. Katie Walsh, Los Angeles Times, 8 Mar. 2023 Finishing clearly is in his toolbox, but after seeing Ferreira pass up scoring opportunities on breakaways in consecutive rivalry matches during the last month, there were questions about the killer instinct a forward needs to put shots on target and put away scoring chances. Jon Arnold, Dallas News, 27 July 2022 What some critics say about Bronny: a complementary player who lacks the killer instinct, a pretty good shooter who lacks consistency, a player who’s good at a lot but rarely spectacular – barring those occasional breakaway dunks, that is. Josh Peter, USA TODAY, 27 Jan. 2023 Taylor plays with a killer instinct that shines through in critical situations. Akeem Glaspie, The Indianapolis Star, 11 Feb. 2023 This didn’t look much like the Bengals’ offense that had a killer instinct against the Bills in last week’s divisional playoff win. Mohammad Ahmad, cleveland, 29 Jan. 2023 The Bengals lack of killer instinct on offense to wrap up games is a concern, but not too much of a concern to worry about moving forward. Mohammad Ahmad, cleveland, 15 Jan. 2023 Hollywood’s quintessential glam-junkie metal band have honed a killer instinct and pushed beyond their redneck American peers to deliver a show worthy of their progenitors—Aerosmith, Cheap Trick, Sweet and Van Halen. Dean Kuipers, SPIN, 8 Jan. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'killer instinct.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1931, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of killer instinct was in 1931

Dictionary Entries Near killer instinct

Cite this Entry

“Killer instinct.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Jun. 2023.

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