• IPA: /ˈdɛ

deadly (comparative deadlier, superlative deadliest)

  1. (obsolete) Subject to death; mortal.
    • 1485, Sir Thomas Malory, [;view=fulltext chapter xxij], in Le Morte Darthur, book XVII:
      And whan he cam to the sacrament of the masse / and had done / anone he called Galahad and sayd to hym come forthe the seruaunt of Ihesu cryst and thou shalt see that thou hast moche desyred to see / & thenne he beganne to tremble ryght hard / whan the dedely flesshe beganne to beholde the spyrytuel thynges
    • 1382–1395, John Wycliffe et al. (translators), Romans i. 23:
      The image of a deadly man.
  2. Causing death; lethal.
    • 1949 George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four, Part Two, Chapter 9,
      […] others search for new and deadlier gases, or for soluble poisons capable of being produced in such quantities as to destroy the vegetation of whole continents […]
  3. Aiming or willing to destroy; implacable; desperately hostile.
    deadly enemies
    • circa 1601 William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night, Act III scene iv:
      […] Dismount thy tuck, be yare in thy preparation, for thy assailant is quick, skillful and deadly.
  4. Very accurate (of aiming with a bow, firearm, etc.).
    • 1879, R[ichard] J[efferies], chapter 1, in The Amateur Poacher, London: Smith, Elder, & Co., […], OCLC 752825175 ↗:
      But then I had the [massive] flintlock by me for protection. ¶ […] The linen-press and a chest on the top of it formed, however, a very good gun-carriage; and, thus mounted, aim could be taken out of the window […], and a 'bead' could be drawn upon Molly, the dairymaid, kissing the fogger behind the hedge, little dreaming that the deadly tube was levelled at them.
  5. (informal) Very boring.
    • 1907, Robert William Chambers, chapter VI, in The Younger Set, New York, N.Y.: D. Appleton & Company, OCLC 24962326 ↗:
      “I don't mean all of your friends—only a small proportion—which, however, connects your circle with that deadly, idle, brainless bunch—the insolent chatterers at the opera, the gorged dowagers, the worn-out, passionless men, the enervated matrons of the summer capital, […]!”
    • 2009, Gay Lumsden, ‎Donald Lumsden, ‎Carolyn Wiethoff, Communicating in Groups and Teams: Sharing Leadership (page 324)
      Students, of course, know the difference between a deadly lecture and a stimulating one. An excellent lecturer who maintains a high level of interaction with the audience stimulates thinking and learning.
  6. (informal) Excellent, awesome, cool.
Translations Translations Translations
  • Russian: великоле́пный


  1. (obsolete) Fatally, mortally.
    • 1603, Michel de Montaigne, John Florio, transl., The Essayes, […], printed at London: By Val[entine] Simmes for Edward Blount […], OCLC 946730821 ↗:
      , Folio Society, 2006, p.16:
      perceiving himselfe deadly wounded by a shot received in his body, being by his men perswaded to come off and retire himselfe from out the throng, answered, he would not now so neere his end, begin to turn his face from his enemie
  2. In a way which suggests death.
    Her face suddenly became deadly white.
  3. Extremely.
    • deadly weary
    • so deadly cunning a man
  • Russian: смертельно
  • Russian: смертельно
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