Definition of dead end in US English:

dead end


  • 1An end of a road or passage from which no exit is possible; a cul-de-sac.

    ‘the path came to a dead end’
    • ‘He quickly turned corners without thinking; and once or twice came to a dead end since everything he remembered to guide from was either gone or too burnt to recognize.’
    • ‘They came across many obstacles and dead ends, but no exit could be found.’
    • ‘There is only one entrance and exit, no dead ends, and no crossing of paths with a choice of which way to turn.’
    • ‘The road came to a dead end, and I stopped inches from the trunk of a tree, tires on the edge of the curb.’
    • ‘I ran though two large doors and came to a dead end.’
    • ‘Roughly four miles beyond Staveley, and fed only by one road that reaches a dead end, it's not a place to pass through - people only come to Kentmere if they mean to spend some time here.’
    • ‘The road, having become steadily narrower, came to a dead-end right by the visitor's centre at the Gibraltar Point nature reserve.’
    • ‘Instead of a home for architecture such as it knew when tradition ruled, each exit leads to a dead end.’
    • ‘He had them cornered as the alley came to a dead end.’
    • ‘She finally came to a dead end and turned to face the girls.’
    • ‘The corridor came to a dead end a few meters past it.’
    • ‘He stated that whenever he came to a dead end, he retraced his steps and marked the entrance to that path, so that he would know which one not to take.’
    • ‘The three kept following the string until they came to a dead end’
    • ‘He turned into a thin alleyway and came to a dead end.’
    • ‘At the end of the passageway we came to a dead end with what looked like a huge rock blocking the way.’
    • ‘Three more turns, and the tunnel came to a dead end.’
    • ‘We went back to our bikes and rode on down the road to investigate further, but came to a dead end at a factory.’
    • ‘As she said it, the hall looked like it came to a dead end.’
    • ‘After a maze of meandering caverns, Shadow came to a dead end.’
    • ‘Let's take another trip down Memory Lane and see the dead end Brock drove the company to.’
    rut, routine, boring routine, habit, dead end, humdrum existence, same old round, grind, daily grind, treadmill
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A road or passage having a dead end.
      • ‘If you think you are being followed, take three left turns, one after the other (take care not to drive down a dead end).’
      • ‘On top of all that, if you want to drive anywhere other than major grocery stores and campus, you'll have to master the city's crooked one-way streets and bizarre dead ends.’
      • ‘There are narrow alleys, sharp corners, open courtyards, one-way streets, even dead ends.’
      • ‘A short distance more, and the rider stopped, shutting down the engine - the street became a dead end.’
      • ‘I drove down the road to an empty dead-end street with brush and overgrowth all over the place, not a building in sight.’
      • ‘Part of the reason for the lack of traffic is that the road is a dead end.’
      • ‘A second man drove the car - which had been parked outside the nearby Pizza Express restaurant - across John Dalton Street and on to Mulberry Street, a dead end.’
      • ‘Most Thorndon side roads are dead ends, narrower than varicose veins and have a topography that even a goat would baulk at.’
      • ‘Taking an intricate short cut through back alleys and abandoned buildings, she came out onto an empty, dead-end road.’
      • ‘Gone though is the cesspool of 60's New York, replaced by crepuscular English side streets, dead ends and tea rooms.’
      • ‘Kooun had too many streets and too many dead ends that one could end up in.’
      • ‘It seemed like every road on Kauai was a dead end, whether a sign announced it or not.’
      • ‘Holly went to drop her bags off at her house, which was all the way at the end of our dead-end street, and I went up to my room.’
      no through road, blind alley, cul-de-sac
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    2. 1.2 A situation offering no prospects of progress or development.
      as modifier ‘a dead-end job’
      • ‘Success will be measured by how well concepts with potential are distinguished from intellectual dead-ends.’
      • ‘In spite of the numbing silence of intellectuals of recent years, there are signs that the Arab world is beginning to break out of the vicious dead-end cycle.’
      • ‘In the '90s, after dropping out of university, Burke, now 35, had ended up in a typical dead-end factory job making printer cartridges.’
      • ‘Her current dead-end relationship and job in tow, Sharon begins to study.’
      • ‘Slacker Jeff (played with an enviable edge by Chris Fassbender) is slowly going mad in a dead-end job and can't be bothered to attend more than one class at a local community college.’
      • ‘The allegations triggered an investigation by the Financial Intelligence Bureau in Bulgaria, which came to a dead end.’
      • ‘But the women find themselves at a dead end because the avenues open to their male counterparts are denied to them.’
      • ‘They trade one dead-end situation for another, arriving in Chicago only to learn that their husband-father has abandoned them and that they must immediately go on welfare.’
      • ‘He sees that she's talented, that she's a special person trying to escape her dead-end life.’
      • ‘"The process of negotiation did not just enter a dead end, but was driven into one," he said in an interview.’
      • ‘Just as it had done in the direction of the pawnshop, the investigation came to a dead end everyplace else.’
      • ‘This longing usually takes over when they feel constrained or trapped in a situation such as a dead-end job, an unhappy marriage, or have settled into a routine that hints of boredom.’
      • ‘I'm still stuck at the same dead-end job making minimum wage.’
      • ‘The script largely rejects sentimentality and the villains and victims, such as they are, are believable, driven by economic necessity and the possibility of escaping dead-end lives.’
      • ‘If you hit a dead end, the National Drug and Treatment Referral Routing Service offers a list of treatment services in your community.’
      • ‘Desperation is the key factor; each character wants to break out of their dead-end situation, but in the end they always opt to hold on.’
      • ‘Employees with management ambitions have long seen night work as a professional dead end.’
      • ‘The problem with Java being an evolutionary dead end is that it implies there isn't anywhere we can go with Java -- that 10 years from now, it's not really going to be much better than it is today.’
      • ‘He makes his living servicing pachinko machines - unchallenging, dead-end work that Hiroki enjoys purely because it allows him to work alone late at night.’
      • ‘After a long search leading to nothing but dead-ends, there finally was a chance to get some solid answers.’
      impasse, deadlock, stalemate, checkmate, stand-off
      View synonyms


[no object]North American
  • (of a road or passage) come to a dead end.

    ‘he kept walking, until the corridor dead-ended’
    • ‘Several times we pulled off on rough roads, only to find that they dead-ended at tin shacks.’
    • ‘For a real workout, take The Waimoku Challenge, a rugged four-mile trek, up through quiet jungles and bamboo forests, that dead-ends at a thundering 400-foot cascade of water.’
    • ‘But of course there was a family errand, one whose reality greeted us the instant the country road dead-ended into the highway running south.’
    • ‘From Panama City there is only one road, the Pan-American Highway, which dead-ends in Yaviza.’
    • ‘Using a remote control, the viewer guides a small, wireless vehicle over the track's dips and curves until it dead-ends in two small domes housing trash bins.’
    • ‘Half a mile further the road dead-ended at the bay - again.’
    • ‘I know that there was a road there with a sign, that dead-ended 2.4 miles down.’
    • ‘East of Ghent, CR8 began to dogleg north and south and eventually dead-ended at a swamp.’
    • ‘Our drag racer finds a rather abrupt end to his fun, as the street he is on dead ends while the tracks continue ahead.’
    • ‘Thankfully, the misguided side road dead-ends here.’
    • ‘The road turns from potholed concrete to sand before dead-ending at a line of cherry trees that seems to stretch for miles.’
    • ‘The new lane dead ends at a concrete headwall.’
    • ‘Since it was Veterans Day, there was also a parade down Congress Avenue, over the so-called Town River (the Colorado) and on to the Capitol, where the street dead-ended.’
    • ‘The grassy road curved its descent to the left down a hillside, then dead-ended at another that crossed their path.’
    • ‘The road dead-ended at the park, and I slowed down still more, teasing myself a little.’


dead end

/ˈded ˈend//ˈdɛd ˈɛnd/