Definition of lethal in English:

lethal

adjective

  • 1Sufficient to cause death.

    ‘a lethal cocktail of alcohol and pills’
    • ‘Who's to say that a substance lethal to rats would necessarily have the same effect on humans?’
    • ‘The first, a yeast, can be especially lethal to individuals with weakened immune systems.’
    • ‘Actually, the mutation has proved lethal in a protected environment as well.’
    • ‘Grey squirrels have out-competed reds for food and also carry squirrel-pox virus which is lethal to the native animals.’
    • ‘The synthetically lethal combinations could not be analyzed because they did not grow under any conditions.’
    • ‘All four incidents involving the potentially lethal weapon happened within the space of an hour in Grimsby.’
    • ‘A deadly bird flu, lethal to some animals, is spreading towards Britain.’
    • ‘Many dogs like the sweet smell and taste and, unfortunately, even very small amounts can be lethal to them.’
    • ‘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 offender appears to sleep peacefully before the lethal dose of poison is administered.’
    • ‘In sufficient quantities its spores can be lethal to humans.’
    • ‘Such a hostile chemical environment would likely prove lethal to all known microbes.’
    • ‘The gas acts like mustard gas, and can prove lethal to those with respiratory problems.’
    • ‘They're exposed every day to potentially lethal doses of anthrax.’
    • ‘In fact, oxidative stress may progress to such an extent that it becomes lethal.’
    • ‘Although scorpion stings can be devastatingly painful, they are not usually lethal to humans.’
    • ‘Without the respectability that lethal injection provides, capital punishment in the United States would probably cease.’
    • ‘Every car is a potentially lethal weapon of mass destruction.’
    • ‘In the United States, critically injured racehorses are humanely euthanized by lethal injection.’
    1. 1.1Harmful or destructive.
      ‘the Krakatoa eruption was the most lethal on record’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The cider and vodka combination is far too lethal for my poor liver so I ended up puking.’
      • ‘It's not just inactivity that makes excess TV-watching lethal to your waistline.’
      • ‘Are you prepared to consume that lethal dose of sodium and fat?’
      • ‘In our schools, too, we should emphasize that it will be lethal to take the earth for granted.’
      • ‘Too much time and money, little purpose, and boredom are a lethal combination.’
      • ‘Added to that is booze, which can make a lethal combination when added to football, causing fights and car accidents.’
      • ‘That's a lethal combination when you're required to spend two hours with someone in a car.’
      • ‘The lethal combination of peak hour traffic and rain had resulted in chaos on the roads.’
      • ‘Add to that an unhealthy dose of shame at her previous level of comfort, and you had a lethal combination.’

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/