lethal

adjective
le·​thal | \ ˈlē-thəl How to pronounce lethal (audio) \

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 How to pronounce lethality (audio) \ noun
lethally \ ˈlē-​thə-​lē How to pronounce lethally (audio) \ 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

While 31 states have the death penalty, more than half of executions in the U.S. this year were carried out by Texas, whose single-drug protocol uses a lethal dose of the barbiturate pentobarbital. Jacob Gershman, WSJ, "Nebraska Set to Use Drug Cocktail That Includes Fentanyl in Execution Tuesday," 13 Aug. 2018 Twenty-five minutes had passed since he was first given the lethal dose. Michael Graczyk, The Seattle Times, "Texas executes man for 2004 slaying of store owner," 17 July 2018 The paper, citing police scanner, reported that the suspect appears to be pinned down and officers have been authorized to use lethal force. Edmund Demarche | Fox News, Fox News, "Sacramento cop shot by gunman in possible ambush: report," 20 June 2019 For the unfamiliar, the Men in Black are in charge of monitoring all aliens who visit, or move to, Earth, using lethal force when necessary to keep the peace. Scott Craven, Detroit Free Press, "Not even wisecracking alien Pawny can save latest ‘MIB’," 13 June 2019 For the unfamiliar, the Men in Black are in charge of monitoring all aliens who visit, or move to, Earth, using lethal force when necessary to keep the peace. Scott Craven, azcentral, "'Men in Black: International' is meh, but give us more Pawny, the wisecracking alien," 12 June 2019 The five-member civilian Police Commission decided unanimously that both officers’ use of lethal force complied with department policy. Cindy Chang, latimes.com, "LAPD officer who shot Trader Joe’s manager complied with policy, Police Commission rules," 10 June 2019 Friends of the deceased say the lethal force was unnecessary. Tanya A. Christian, Essence, "Man Fatally Shot By Passerby Was ‘Mentally Delayed,’ Friends Say," 6 June 2019 The experience of Gazans over the past fifty-two weeks has been another grim reminder of how easily popular mobilization is crushed and how staggering the cost can be, with lethal force unleashed on Palestinian civilian demonstrators. The New York Review of Books, "Hamas Contained: The Rise and Pacification of Palestinian Resistance," 29 Mar. 2019

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 and Noun

Latin letalis, lethalis, from letum death

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Statistics for lethal

Last Updated

11 Jul 2019

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 How to pronounce lethal (audio) \

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 How to pronounce lethality (audio) \ 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

Comments on lethal

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