kiss of death

noun phrase

Definition of kiss of death

: something (such as an act or association) ultimately causing ruin The movie has a G rating, which is almost a kiss of death. Last year, fewer than 2% of new films were rated G, and nearly all of those were animated.Sports Illustrated usually used with the Not long ago, when I proposed to my agent that she champion a book of mine as a work of literature instead of trying to present it as a "Sixties memoir," she told me, with a rueful laugh, that in publishing circles nowadays the "L" word is the kiss of death.— Joel Agee… a faraway region whose populations are so deeply anti-Western that any government cooperation with America can be the kiss of death— Alan Tonelson

First Known Use of kiss of death

1943, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for kiss of death

from the kiss with which Judas betrayed Jesus (Mark 14:44–46)

Learn More About kiss of death

Time Traveler for kiss of death

Time Traveler

The first known use of kiss of death was in 1943

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near kiss of death

kiss-me-quick

kiss of death

kiss off

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for kiss of death

Cite this Entry

“Kiss of death.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/kiss%20of%20death. Accessed 21 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on kiss of death

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for kiss of death

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Which Word Does Not Belong?

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

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!