Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A dead-end street.
  • noun An impasse.
  • noun Anatomy A saclike cavity or tube open only at one end.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A street or alley which has no outlet at one end; a blind alley; a way or passage that leads nowhere.
  • noun Specifically In anatomy and zoology, a diverticulum ending blindly; a cæcum or blind gut; some tubular, saccular, or pouch-like part open only at one end.
  • noun An inconclusive argument.
  • noun Milit., the situation in which an army finds itself when it is hemmed in and has no exit but by the front.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A passage with only one outlet, as a street closed at one end; a blind alley; hence, a trap.
  • noun (Mil.) a position in which an army finds itself with no way of exit but to the front.
  • noun (Anat.) Any bag-shaped or tubular cavity, vessel, or organ, open only at one end.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A blind alley or dead end street.
  • noun A circular area at the end of a dead end street to allow cars to turn around, designed so children can play on the street, with little or no through-traffic.
  • noun An impasse.
  • noun medicine A sack-like cavity or tube open at one end only.

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

  • noun a passage with access only at one end
  • noun a street with only one way in or out

Etymologies

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

[French : cul, bottom (from Old French, from Latin cūlus; see culet) + de, of (from Old French, from Latin ; see de–) + sac, sack (from Old French, from Latin saccus; see sack).]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Borrowing from French cul-de-sac, from cul ("bottom") + de ("of") + sac ("bag, sack")

Examples

  • Powney said she had been at home all day and didn't realize anyone had been killed until police converged on the cul-de-sac at about 3 p.m.

    Police: Mich. shooting spree suspect commits suicide

  • Powney said she had been at home all day and didn't realize anyone had been killed until police converged on the cul-de-sac at about 3 p.m.

    Police: Mich. shooting spree suspect commits suicide

  • Others say that generations of research biochemists have led each other into an intellectual cul-de-sac.

    Drugs That Are as Smart as Our Diseases

  • Could you at any point in the future envisage yourself enjoying Karl from Wellingborough's robotic band of Christmas frogs ribbitting to Mull Of Kintyre by Wings in the garden at the end of a cul-de-sac?

    King Of Christmas Lights: Grace Dent's TV OD

  • The most extraordinary thing that happened during my childhood was a hot air balloon crashing down in a nearby cul-de-sac.

    Welcome to My World

  • JACKSON SMITH'S HOUSE is at the end of a wooded cul-de-sac, the back of which forms a peninsula that slopes down gradually into the Sound.

    Monkeytown excerpt 2

  • Ivy Lane the cul-de-sac and dead end if you turned down it wrong, lay there and things die in life.

    The Flowers Were For This

  • She focused on keeping an eye on Ashish, making sure he ate everything she put in front of him, taking him for walks by the creek in the evening, watching while he bicycled or threw hoops with his friends over on the Plum Tree Court cul-de-sac.

    For the Sake of the Boy

  • Only 45 years later he will be lying in a pool of blood in a downpour, in a grain field cul-de-sac near Chino, California.

    Old Photo, 1948 or so

  • This home, built on a cul-de-sac in 1987, is on the market.

    Home sales in Lee's Summit, Mo., struggle to recover

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