Learned borrowing from Latin lētālis (“deadly, mortal, fatal”), improperly written lēthālis, from lētum (“death”), improperly written as lēthum, from a supposed connection with Ancient Greek λήθη (lḗthē, “oblivion, forgetfulness”).
lethal (comparative more lethal, superlative most lethal)
- Of, pertaining to, or causing death; deadly; mortal; fatal.
- 2013 July 20, “Old soldiers?”, in The Economist, volume 408, number 8845:
- Whether modern, industrial man is less or more warlike than his hunter-gatherer ancestors is impossible to determine. The machine gun is so much more lethal than the bow and arrow that comparisons are meaningless.
of, pertaining to, or causing death; deadly; mortal; fatal
lethal (plural lethals)
- Any weapon that causes death.
- Antonym: non-lethal
- (genetics) An allele that causes the death of the organism that carries it.
Abbreviation of “lauric acid ethereal salt”, so called because it occurs in the ethereal salt of lauric acid.
- (chemistry) One of the higher alcohols of the paraffine series obtained from spermaceti as a white crystalline solid.
- lethal in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913
- lethal in The Century Dictionary, New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911