Definition of a matter of life and death in English:

a matter of life and death

phrase

  • 1

    see life
  • 2A matter of vital importance.

    ‘she would not go out on the Sabbath unless it was a matter of life and death’
    • ‘However, for people who need vital organs replaced, the deficiencies of artificial substitutes are a matter of life and death.’
    • ‘Whether his weekly column was on writing clearly, resisting tyranny or making tea, he always made it sound like a matter of life and death.’
    • ‘The old fans' line says that football is not a matter of life and death, it's more important than that.’
    • ‘It is a truth barely appreciated that government not only matters, but it is a matter of life and death that the right people run it.’
    • ‘Prevention is a matter of public health for governments, but a matter of life and death for individuals.’
    • ‘‘I will not operate on you unless it's a matter of life and death,’ the surgeon told me.’
    • ‘The ultimate outcome could be a matter of life and death.’
    • ‘Yet as well as turning York into one big traffic jam, these roadworks are also making life even more difficult for ambulance drivers, whose journeys are essential and can be a matter of life and death.’
    • ‘Unionization was necessary; it was literally a matter of life and death.’
    • ‘‘It's a matter of life and death, really,’ he said, referring to the need for proper safety procedures.’
    vitally important, of vital importance, all-important, vital, crucial, critical, essential, of the essence, a matter of life and death, of great consequence, necessary, indispensable, exigent, pressing, urgent
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