deadly


deadly
deadly adj
1 Deadly, mortal, fatal, lethal mean causing or causative of death.
Deadly may imply an extremely high degree of probability rather than a certainty of death; the term therefore applies to something with the capacity of or a marked potentiality for causing death; a deadly disease is one usually ending fatally; a deadly weapon is one capable of inflicting death; the seven deadly sins in theology are those sins which must be avoided because they are the source of other sins and are destructive of spiritual life and progress
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two brave vessels matched in deadly fight, and fighting to the death— Wordsworth

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poisons more deadly than a mad dog's tooth— Shak.

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the neglect of form . . . was even deadlier to poetry— Viereck

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Mortal implies that death has occurred or is certain to occur; the term therefore is applicable only to that which actually has caused or is about to cause death; a mortal disease is one that ends fatally; a mortal wound is one that caused or will inevitably cause death; a mortal sin (in contrast with a deadly sin) is a grievous sin deliberately committed and actually inflicting spiritual death. Deadly applies to the instrument that deals the wound or blow that proves mortal
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a deadly lance

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a mortal stab

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Gigi took off his mask and hid it under a rock; it would be no help to him now, but on the contrary a mortal danger— Upton Sinclair

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Fatal stresses inevitability and applies to a potential or actual result of death, destruction, or disaster. The term is often used in place of mortal as applied to wounds, blows, or illnesses especially when some time has intervened between the wounding or sickening and the dying. Fatal rather than mortal is used in predictions
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to remove him to the hospital would be fatal

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at her age ... it [diabetes] was not speedily or necessarily fatalEllis

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I will not repeat your words . . . because the consequences to you would certainly be fatalHenry Adams

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Lethal applies only to something which by its very nature is bound to cause death or which exists for the purpose of destroying life
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the morphia he gave was a full lethal dose, and presently the body on the deck found peace— Nevil Shute

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a lethal gas

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a lethal chamber for the execution of those condemned to death

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a lethal weapon

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All of these terms except lethal may be used in a lighter sense not implying physical or spiritual death, but something dreaded or greatly feared; a deadly shaft of irony causes complete discomfiture; mortal terror always suggests extreme terror, but only occasionally the terror of losing one's life; a fatal error or a fatal slip may imply the destruction of one's plans or hopes rather than of one's life.
Analogous words: destroying or destructive (see DESTROY): killing, slaying (see KILL vb): malignant, malign (see MALICIOUS): baneful, *pernicious: toxic, virulent, *poisonous, pestilential, pestilent: ruinous (see corresponding verb at RUIN)
2 Deadly, deathly are frequently confused although in precise use they are not synonyms.
Deadly applies to an agent which is bound or extremely likely to cause death (see DEADLY 1); in one of its extended senses, it applies to something which is so implacable or virulent or so relentless that it can result only in death, destruction, or ruin
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a deadly enmity existed between them

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the two railroads are engaged in a deadly conflict over rates

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Deadly may imply no more than an extreme of something
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deadly monotony

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why are you in such deadly haste?

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or it may suggest a disgusting extreme of some depressing or spirit-destroying quality
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the city is deadly in summer

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Deathly applies only to that which suggests the appearance or the presence of death
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his deathly pallor

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the deathly stillness of the place

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New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • deadly — [ded′lē] adj. deadlier, deadliest [ME dedlich < OE deadlic: see DEAD & LY1] 1. causing death or likely to cause death [a deadly poison] 2. to the death; mortal or implacable [deadly combat, deadly enemies] …   English World dictionary

  • deadly — dead·ly adj dead·li·er, est: likely to cause or capable of causing death; also: dangerous (2) ◇ Deadly and dangerous are sometimes used interchangeably, esp. in connection with weapons or instruments. Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of Law. Merriam… …   Law dictionary

  • Deadly — may refer to: Deadly (novel series), a children s book by Morris Gleitzman and Paul Jennings Deadly (TV series), an Australian children s television cartoon series Karla, a 2006 American motion picture originally titled Deadly Alan Deadly… …   Wikipedia

  • deadly — dead ly, a. 1. Capable of causing death; mortal; fatal; destructive; certain or likely to cause death; as, a deadly blow or wound. [1913 Webster] 2. Aiming or willing to destroy; implacable; desperately hostile; flagitious; as, deadly enemies.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • deadly — dead ly, adv. 1. In a manner resembling, or as if produced by, death; deathly. Deadly pale. Shak. [1913 Webster] 2. In a manner to occasion death; mortally. [1913 Webster] The groanings of a deadly wounded man. Ezek. xxx. 24. [1913 Webster] 3. In …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • deadly — [adj1] causing end of life baleful, baneful, bloodthirsty, bloody, cannibalistic, carcinogenic, cruel, dangerous, death dealing, deathly, deleterious, destroying, destructive, fatal, grim, harmful, homicidal, injurious, internecine, killing,… …   New thesaurus

  • deadly — ► ADJECTIVE (deadlier, deadliest) 1) causing or able to cause death. 2) (of a voice, glance, etc.) filled with hate. 3) extremely accurate or effective. 4) informal extremely boring. ► ADVERB 1) …   English terms dictionary

  • deadly — O.E. deadlic mortal, subject to death, also causing death; see DEAD (Cf. dead) + LY (Cf. ly) (2). Meaning having the capacity to kill is from late 14c. (O.E. words for this included deaðbærlic, deaðberende) …   Etymology dictionary

  • deadly — I UK [ˈdedlɪ] / US adjective Word forms deadly : adjective deadly comparative deadlier superlative deadliest * 1) able or likely to kill people This is a potentially deadly disease. deadly to: Too many water changes can prove deadly to these… …   English dictionary

  • deadly — [[t]de̱dli[/t]] deadlier, deadliest 1) ADJ GRADED If something is deadly, it is likely or able to cause someone s death, or has already caused someone s death. He was acquitted on charges of assault with a deadly weapon. ...a deadly disease… …   English dictionary


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