lethal

adjective
le·​thal | \ˈlē-thəl \

Definition of lethal 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : of, relating to, or causing death death by lethal injection

b : capable of causing death lethal chemicals

2 : gravely damaging or destructive : devastating a lethal attack on his reputation

3 : very potent or effective a lethal fastball also : having a high alcohol content a lethal rum punch

lethal

noun

Definition of lethal (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an abnormality of genetic origin causing the death of the organism possessing it

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Other Words from lethal

Adjective

lethality \lē-​ˈtha-​lə-​tē \ noun
lethally \ˈlē-​thə-​lē \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for lethal

Synonyms: Adjective

baleful, deadly, deathly, fatal, fell, killer, mortal, murderous, pestilent, terminal, vital

Antonyms: Adjective

healthful, healthy, nonfatal, nonlethal, wholesome

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Choose the Right Synonym for lethal

Adjective

deadly, mortal, fatal, lethal mean causing or capable of causing death. deadly applies to an established or very likely cause of death. a deadly disease mortal implies that death has occurred or is inevitable. a mortal wound fatal stresses the inevitability of what has in fact resulted in death or destruction. fatal consequences lethal applies to something that is bound to cause death or exists for the destruction of life. lethal gas

Examples of lethal in a Sentence

Adjective

a potentially lethal dose of a drug He was sentenced to death by lethal injection.

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

But there are also more lethal bugs floating around in an incredibly mobile society, Dr. Madad said. WSJ, "New Ideas to Fight the Flu," 20 Nov. 2018 The difference boils down to how incredibly lethal certain pesticides can be. Dylan Matthews, Vox, "How pesticide bans can prevent tens of thousands of suicides a year," 15 Nov. 2018 In addition to electric chairs, Leuchter built, refurbished and consulted on gas chambers, lethal injection machines and a gallows for at least 27 states. Travis Loller, The Seattle Times, "Electric chair builder worried Tennessee execution will fail," 31 Oct. 2018 As more states have moved to incorporate their drugs in lethal injection procedures, other companies have followed suit. Abdullah Shihipar, Teen Vogue, "Lethal Injection Drugs and the Death Penalty, Explained," 30 Oct. 2018 The study also found that female veterans were more likely than civilian women to kill themselves using a firearm—the most lethal method of suicide. Jim Rendon, Marie Claire, "When Female Veterans Return Home," 29 Oct. 2018 They were found to have been poisoned with Novichok, a lethal nerve agent produced in the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Gregory Katz, chicagotribune.com, "Bottle containing nerve agent found in home of poisoned man in U.K., police say," 13 July 2018 Photo: Dana Verkouteren/Associated Press Justice Kavanaugh remained silent while Mr. Hochman debated the fine points of lethal injection with other justices and argued the feasibility of killing him with poison gas. Jess Bravin, WSJ, "Kavanaugh Questions Death-Penalty Method in Missouri Case," 6 Nov. 2018 But the case was dropped after Florida switched to lethal injection. Travis Loller, The Seattle Times, "Electric chair builder worried Tennessee execution will fail," 31 Oct. 2018

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

Adjective

circa 1604, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun

1917, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for lethal

Adjective

Latin letalis, lethalis, from letum death

Noun

see lethal entry 1

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Statistics for lethal

Last Updated

28 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for lethal

The first known use of lethal was circa 1604

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More Definitions for lethal

lethal

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of lethal

: causing or able to cause death

lethal

adjective
le·​thal | \ˈlē-thəl \

Medical Definition of lethal 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: of, relating to, or causing death a lethal injury also : capable of causing death lethal chemicals a lethal dose

Other Words from lethal

lethality \lē-​ˈthal-​ət-​ē \ noun plural lethalities
lethally adverb

lethal

noun

Medical Definition of lethal (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an abnormality of genetic origin causing the death of the organism possessing it usually before maturity

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More from Merriam-Webster on lethal

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for lethal

Spanish Central: Translation of lethal

Nglish: Translation of lethal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of lethal for Arabic Speakers

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