Synonym Chooser

How does the adjective fatal differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of fatal are deadly, lethal, and mortal. While all these words mean "causing or capable of causing death," fatal stresses the inevitability of what has in fact resulted in death or destruction.

fatal consequences

When is it sensible to use deadly instead of fatal?

While the synonyms deadly and fatal are close in meaning, deadly applies to an established or very likely cause of death.

a deadly disease

When would lethal be a good substitute for fatal?

The meanings of lethal and fatal largely overlap; however, lethal applies to something that is bound to cause death or exists for the destruction of life.

lethal gas

When might mortal be a better fit than fatal?

The synonyms mortal and fatal are sometimes interchangeable, but mortal implies that death has occurred or is inevitable.

a mortal wound

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Cite this Entry

“Fatal.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/fatal. Accessed 25 Sep. 2023.

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