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 theNot 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)

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The first known use of kiss of death was in 1943

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Cite this Entry

“Kiss of death.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 13 December 2019.

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kiss of death


English Language Learners Definition of kiss of death

: something that causes something to fail or be ruined

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Comments on kiss of death

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


easily led, controlled, or managed

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