Definitions

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

  • adj. Causing or capable of causing death.
  • adj. Causing ruin or destruction; disastrous: "Such doctrines, if true, would be absolutely fatal to my theory” ( Charles Darwin).
  • adj. Of decisive importance; fateful: came through at the fatal moment.
  • adj. Concerning or determining one's fate: the fatal thread of life.
  • adj. Obsolete Having been destined; fated.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Proceeding from, or appointed by, fate or destiny.
  • adj. Foreboding death or great disaster.
  • adj. Causing death or destruction
  • adj. Causing a sudden end to a program.
  • n. A fatality; an event that leads to death.
  • n. A fatal error; a failure that causes a program to terminate.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Proceeding from, or appointed by, fate or destiny; necessary; inevitable.
  • adj. Foreboding death or great disaster.
  • adj. Causing death or destruction; deadly; mortal; destructive; calamitous

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • 1. Proceeding from or decreed by fate or destiny; inevitable; fated.
  • Fraught with fate; influencing or deciding fate; fateful.
  • Foreboding or associated with disaster or death; ominous.
  • Causing or attended with death or destruction; deadly; mortal; destructive; disastrous; ruinous: as, a fatal accident.
  • Doomed; cursed.

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

  • adj. controlled or decreed by fate; predetermined
  • adj. bringing death
  • adj. having momentous consequences; of decisive importance
  • adj. (of events) having extremely unfortunate or dire consequences; bringing ruin

Etymologies

Middle English, fateful, from Old French, from Latin fātālis, from fātum, prophecy, doom; see fate.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin fātālis ("fatal"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • This is what I call a fatal flaw for this candidate.

    Hillary in a Lie To Make Headlines

  • Cardinal, accused him of prevarication and weakness, and threw himself at her Majesty's feet, conjuring her in the name of the King her son, not to authorise, by an example which he called fatal, the insolence of a subject who was for wresting favours from his sovereign, sword in hand.

    Court Memoirs of France Series — Complete

  • Prescott 12.195 reports a case of what he calls fatal colic from the lodgment of a chocolate-nut in the appendix; and Noyes 12.196 relates an instance of death in a man of thirty-one attributed to the presence of a raisin-seed in the vermiform appendix.

    Anomalies and Curiosities of Medicine

  • Prescott reports a case of what he calls fatal colic from the lodgment of a chocolate-nut in the appendix; and Noyes relates an instance of death in a man of thirty-one attributed to the presence of a raisin-seed in the vermiform appendix.

    Anomalies and Curiosities of Medicine

  • Page 340, footnote 3. _idem etiam_, etc.: he says also that Jupiter is the power of this law, eternal and immutable, which is the guide, so to speak, of our life and the principle of our duties; a law which he calls a fatal necessity, an eternal truth of future things.

    Social life at Rome in the Age of Cicero

  • In an interview with People magazine granted shortly after her husband made it through his famously contentious confirmation hearings, Ginni said, What [Anita Hill] did was so obviously political…Her allegations…remind me of the movie Fatal Attraction, or in her case, what I call the fatal assistant.

    Yahoo! News: Business - Opinion

  • Eventually, vomiting, diarrhea and rash develop, the kidneys and liver may stop functioning, and, in fatal cases, uncontrollable internal and external bleeding begins, resulting in the vomiting of blood and bleeding from the eyes, ears, nose and other orifices.

    A treatment for Ebola?

  • Seat belt use is lowest among teens and young adults, and the majority of teens involved in fatal crashes are unbuckled.

    2010 Teen Driver Safety Week: Reducing unnecessary deaths

  • D minor for Rachmaninoff or Mozart is to express a certain fatal mood.

    Orchestrating an Extrasensory Sound in Living Color

  • Recreational marijuana use in fatal crashes will increase if Prop. 19 passes.

    Prop 19 Opponents Veer Off Into Paranoia

Comments

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  • Means "annoying" in German.

    July 13, 2009