Definition of lethal in English:

lethal

adjective

  • 1Sufficient to cause death.

    ‘a lethal cocktail of alcohol and pills’
    • ‘Actually, the mutation has proved lethal in a protected environment as well.’
    • ‘They're exposed every day to potentially lethal doses of anthrax.’
    • ‘Although scorpion stings can be devastatingly painful, they are not usually lethal to humans.’
    • ‘In the United States, critically injured racehorses are humanely euthanized by lethal injection.’
    • ‘In fact, oxidative stress may progress to such an extent that it becomes lethal.’
    • ‘The avian flu strain lethal to humans has so far killed 42 people in Vietnam since late 2003.’
    • ‘Antibiotics are medicines that are lethal to bacteria that cause infections.’
    • ‘The first, a yeast, can be especially lethal to individuals with weakened immune systems.’
    • ‘In sufficient quantities its spores can be lethal to humans.’
    • ‘Such a hostile chemical environment would likely prove lethal to all known microbes.’
    • ‘The synthetically lethal combinations could not be analyzed because they did not grow under any conditions.’
    • ‘Every car is a potentially lethal weapon of mass destruction.’
    • ‘Who's to say that a substance lethal to rats would necessarily have the same effect on humans?’
    • ‘All four incidents involving the potentially lethal weapon happened within the space of an hour in Grimsby.’
    • ‘Without the respectability that lethal injection provides, capital punishment in the United States would probably cease.’
    • ‘A deadly bird flu, lethal to some animals, is spreading towards Britain.’
    • ‘The offender appears to sleep peacefully before the lethal dose of poison is administered.’
    • ‘The gas acts like mustard gas, and can prove lethal to those with respiratory problems.’
    • ‘Grey squirrels have out-competed reds for food and also carry squirrel-pox virus which is lethal to the native animals.’
    • ‘Many dogs like the sweet smell and taste and, unfortunately, even very small amounts can be lethal to them.’
    1. 1.1 Harmful or destructive.
      ‘the Krakatoa eruption was the most lethal on record’
      • ‘Add to that an unhealthy dose of shame at her previous level of comfort, and you had a lethal combination.’
      • ‘That's a lethal combination when you're required to spend two hours with someone in a car.’
      • ‘Are you prepared to consume that lethal dose of sodium and fat?’
      • ‘The cider and vodka combination is far too lethal for my poor liver so I ended up puking.’
      • ‘Friday was a bizarre affair, fuelled by a lethal combination of beer, wine, Jack Daniels and vodka.’
      • ‘Entire governments, never mind single ministers, have been toppled by that lethal combination.’
      • ‘It's not just inactivity that makes excess TV-watching lethal to your waistline.’
      • ‘The lethal combination of peak hour traffic and rain had resulted in chaos on the roads.’
      • ‘Too much time and money, little purpose, and boredom are a lethal combination.’
      • ‘In our schools, too, we should emphasize that it will be lethal to take the earth for granted.’
      • ‘Added to that is booze, which can make a lethal combination when added to football, causing fights and car accidents.’
      fatal, deadly, mortal, causing death, death-dealing, life-threatening, murderous, homicidal, killing, terminal, final, incurable
      View synonyms

Origin

Late 16th century (in the sense ‘causing spiritual death’): from Latin lethalis, from lethum, a variant (influenced by Greek lēthē ‘forgetfulness’), of letum ‘death’.

Pronunciation

lethal

/ˈlēTHəl//ˈliθəl/