Definition of fatal in English:

fatal

adjective

  • 1Causing death:

    ‘a fatal accident’
    • ‘Once a person develops symptoms, the disease is usually fatal.’
    • ‘Unlike bees they have an unlimited ability to sting, although the venom rarely proves fatal in humans.’
    • ‘It was great beyond measure, lasted a long time and was particularly fatal to children.’
    • ‘But we know they are carrying a deadly parasite which has proved fatal to two species.’
    • ‘The bug causes diarrhoea, stomach cramps and fever and can be fatal to babies, the old and the sick.’
    • ‘The last fatal shooting attributed to the sniper took place Tuesday.’
    • ‘The result of a fatal accident inquiry into her death is due later this year.’
    • ‘This protects the foliage from cold and wind damage as even the walk between shop and car can be fatal to tender plants.’
    • ‘They can inflict a serious, and sometimes fatal, injury and should be treated with respect.’
    • ‘The wound was fatal, but not quick, he would be dying for days.’
    • ‘Speeding is now a factor in one in four fatal crashes on our roads.’
    • ‘The condition can be fatal if a clot travels to the heart or lungs.’
    • ‘Only about 25 of the 1,500 known species of scorpions can deliver stings that are fatal to humans.’
    • ‘The result would be fatal to most motorists as vehicles are likely to be damaged.’
    • ‘I looked at the CDC site, and it seems that the disease is not invariably fatal.’
    • ‘Rabies is an invariably fatal viral disease caused by the bite of an infected animal, usually a dog.’
    • ‘He knew it was a fatal wound caused by a special type of ammunition.’
    • ‘It contains an alkaloid toxin which can be fatal to horses and other livestock.’
    • ‘The spores transform into the anthrax bacteria, which produce a toxin that can be fatal to humans and animals.’
    • ‘Is it really worth a potentially fatal accident just to avoid having your picture taken?’
    deadly, lethal, mortal, causing death, death dealing, killing
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Leading to failure or disaster:
      ‘there were three fatal flaws in the strategy’
      • ‘However, when I'd finished the process I discovered a fatal flaw in the new software.’
      • ‘Sometimes it's the way the software is designed that is determined to be the fatal flaw.’
      • ‘This would be fatal to the central purpose of the BBC, which is to take creative risk.’
      • ‘The decision was fatal to what little possibility remained of restoring order in the country.’
      • ‘These could be produced economically and in quantity, but suffered a fatal flaw.’
      • ‘That this was never permanently achieved proved fatal to their Mediterranean strategy.’
      • ‘That is why I cannot quite put my finger on what you say is the fatal flaw in this legislation.’
      • ‘What are the fatal flaws that bring him into such contempt among his own peer group?’
      • ‘Thus the Inspector's failure to consider this aspect is not fatal to his decision.’
      • ‘Those sort of leaders are just as fatal to regimental morale as the control freaks.’
      • ‘But leaving the film to its own devices proves very nearly fatal.’
      • ‘On each occasion, there was the same, potentially fatal, flaw in the system.’
      • ‘However, a couple of fatal flaws in an otherwise solid defence proved costly.’
      • ‘Many believe that a second whistleblower could prove fatal to the Government.’
      • ‘If you have a lazy agent, it could prove fatal to your dealings with your tenant.’
      • ‘It's a fatal flaw in what otherwise has the makings of an entertainingly quirky show.’
      • ‘We say it is fatal to the defendants' case that they cannot prove those accusations to be true.’
      • ‘Her delay in complaining thus might have been fatal to her claim.’
      • ‘They were buoyed up by hope, and often they were brought down their own fatal flaws.’
      • ‘So, tactically, it is a masterstroke, with one fatal flaw.’
      disastrous, devastating, ruinous, catastrophic, calamitous, cataclysmic, destructive, grievous, dire, crippling, crushing, injurious, harmful, costly
      View synonyms

Origin

Late Middle English (in the senses ‘destined by fate’ and ‘ominous’): from Old French, or from Latin fatalis, from fatum (see fate).

Pronunciation

fatal

/ˈfeɪt(ə)l/