Definition of cul-de-sac in US English:



  • 1A street or passage closed at one end.

    • ‘Even working waste collection vehicles could not negotiate many back streets and cul-de-sacs for fear of losing their grip on the road while turning.’
    • ‘He said a number of roads had speed humps in his ward, including tight streets and cul-de-sacs, many where there was no evidence of speeding or a history of accidents.’
    • ‘He noted that the different housing groups within the area will be interconnected with an accessible street layout and long cul-de-sacs will be avoided.’
    • ‘Although Winterscale Street is a cul-de-sac, highway officials admit they have no safety concerns which would warrant refusal.’
    • ‘The new design should make it easier for the street cleansers to manoeuvre it around tight roads and into cul-de-sacs.’
    • ‘There would be basement parking for 90 cars with vehicular access from a new cul-de-sac off New Street.’
    • ‘The shop was in Churchill Road, a cul-de-sac right at the top of the High Street on the left hand side.’
    • ‘On the other side, in the city of New Haven, is the West Rock housing project: boarded-up buildings, litter-strewn cul-de-sacs, and dead-end roads.’
    • ‘Applications will only be considered for the closure of roads, which are ‘local distributors, cul-de-sacs or access-only streets’.’
    • ‘The village streets and cul-de-sacs reminded me of a European village.’
    • ‘People power has secured a public meeting to discuss plans to turn a Warminster street into a cul-de-sac.’
    • ‘There was a fear that extra traffic from my students would decrease the safety of the cul-de-sac street.’
    • ‘And they know it's your car because they know you and they know you because your street is a cul-de-sac and strangers have little reason to walk through it.’
    • ‘She showers, changes clothes, then walks the dog around the development's maze of culs-de-sac and möbius streets.’
    • ‘A new road would provide access to traffic from High Road, with the cul-de-sac encircling 66 of the properties.’
    • ‘Interconnected streets and broad sidewalks rather than cul-de-sacs facilitate human movement through a neighborhood.’
    • ‘It changed the nature of suburban streets, with cul-de-sacs replacing straight streets as desirable places to reside and house design changing to incorporate carports or garages.’
    • ‘Housing groups within the development will be interconnected with an accessible street layout and long cul-de-sacs.’
    • ‘He said possible options for the road could include creating a cul-de-sac, building a bypass or introducing speed-restrictions and traffic calming measures.’
    • ‘The project includes a cul-de-sac and two boulevard roadways.’
    no through road, blind alley, dead end
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A route or course leading nowhere.
      ‘the pro-democracy forces found themselves in a political cul-de-sac’
      • ‘More troubling are the forces that trap many of these workers in a career cul-de-sac.’
      • ‘How could such euphoria and triumphalism end only two years later in the political cul-de-sac of voter apathy?’
      • ‘They were ultimately led by a man who was stuck in a political cul-de-sac as claustrophobic as the compound in which he was effectively imprisoned for the past two years.’
      • ‘A good cast is led into a cul-de-sac of silliness.’
      • ‘They seemed to be stuck in a electoral cul-de-sac and appeared to be going nowhere.’
      • ‘My genes have reached a biological cul-de-sac and they're going nowhere.’
      • ‘How had I, and countless other well-meaning teachers and educational professionals, managed to spend three years marching down this terrible educational cul-de-sac?’
      • ‘A word to the wise: a policy to reintroduce traffic to the footstreets is a political cul-de-sac.’
      • ‘So after Thursday's departure, will he go down that tried-and - tested soap acting career cul-de-sac and release a rubbish single?’
      • ‘Let's step away from this philosophical cul-de-sac.’
      • ‘While cyberspace may appear to be an ever-growing universe, it's likely to become a misleadingly impressive cul-de-sac.’
      • ‘Given this policy cul-de-sac, how much further can the bubble be sustained?’
      • ‘Anything short of persuading the union's rank and file would be a shortcut to a cul-de-sac; an arrangement at the top of the union that would amount to very little.’
      • ‘So what is the way out of this cul-de-sac of unsatisfied feelings and frustration?’
      • ‘It was only when they realised they were in a political cul-de-sac that they changed approach.’
      • ‘Dissent is to be found elsewhere than in this self-referential cul-de-sac.’
      • ‘The group is inventive and eclectic, never stopping in any cul-de-sac for too long.’
      • ‘Although he finds his career path stuck in a cul-de-sac, his fiery style of populist politics gives him the capacity to affect the direction of events in the run up to the general election.’
      • ‘There's no saying whether it would've taken them in a fruitful new direction or just led them into a cul-de-sac.’
      • ‘His anatomy of the human condition, however, is not the political and moral cul-de-sac it purports to be.’
    2. 1.2Anatomy A vessel, tube, or sac, e.g., the cecum, open at only one end.
      • ‘It is the only skin-lined cul-de-sac in the human body.’
      • ‘The surgeon performed a physical examination and noted extreme tenderness in the posterior uterine cul-de-sac upon pelvic examination.’
      • ‘The inside of the appendix forms a cul-de-sac that usually opens into the large intestine.’
      • ‘It is performed by first drying the tear film, then inserting a Schirmer strip into the lower conjunctival cul-de-sac toward the temporal aspect of the lower lid.’


Mid 18th century (originally in anatomy): French, literally ‘bottom of a sack’.