Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Date: 1300-1400
Language: French
Origin: Latin fatalis, from fatum; FATE

fatal

adjective
     
fa‧tal
1 resulting in someone's death:
potentially fatal diseases
fatal accident/illness/injury etc
a fatal climbing accident
If it is not treated correctly, the condition can prove fatal (=be fatal).
2 having a very bad effect, especially making someone fail or stop what they are doing
fatal to
Disunity finally proved fatal to the rebels' cause.
There was one fatal flaw (=serious weakness) in his argument.
His presidential hopes suffered a fatal blow in New Hampshire.
fatal mistake/error
Telling your employees they're unimportant is a fatal error.

Dictionary pictures of the day
Do you know what each of these is called?
What is the word for picture 1? What is the word for picture 2? What is the word for picture 3? What is the word for picture 4?
Click on any of the pictures above to find out what it is called.

Explore our topic dictionary