Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A dead-end street.
  • n. An impasse: "This was the cul-de-sac the year kept driving me toward: men and women would always be at odds” ( Philip Weiss).
  • n. Anatomy A saclike cavity or tube open only at one end.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A blind alley or dead end street.
  • n. A circular area at the end of a dead end street to allow cars to turn around, designed so children can play on the street, with little or no through-traffic.
  • n. An impasse.
  • n. A sack-like cavity or tube open at one end only.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A passage with only one outlet, as a street closed at one end; a blind alley; hence, a trap.
  • n. a position in which an army finds itself with no way of exit but to the front.
  • n. Any bag-shaped or tubular cavity, vessel, or organ, open only at one end.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A street or alley which has no outlet at one end; a blind alley; a way or passage that leads nowhere.
  • n. Specifically In anatomy and zoology, a diverticulum ending blindly; a cæcum or blind gut; some tubular, saccular, or pouch-like part open only at one end.
  • n. An inconclusive argument.
  • n. Milit., the situation in which an army finds itself when it is hemmed in and has no exit but by the front.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a passage with access only at one end
  • n. a street with only one way in or out

Etymologies

French : cul, bottom (from Old French, from Latin cūlus; see culet) + de, of (from Old French, from Latin ; see de-) + sac, sack (from Old French, from Latin saccus; see sack1).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Borrowing from French cul-de-sac, from cul ("bottom") + de ("of") + sac ("bag, sack") (Wiktionary)

Examples

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