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

  • adjective Of critical importance to the survival of a living organism.
  • adjective Having death as a possible or even likely outcome; perilous.
  • adjective idiomatic Of critical importance to the success of a particular endeavor.

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

  • adjective vitally important


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • With thousands of miles of marching behind him and constant life-or-death decisions to make, it was a rare luxury to sit on a ship gently drifting down a river in India.

    Alexander the Great

  • Not your typical surfing-doc wannabes, the subjects here are favela kids in Rio, whose dreams of turning pro are put into life-or-death perspective by the local drug-dealing gang culture.

    This week's new films

  • It was a life-or-death proposition, like hacking through Mordor.

    The Dark Side of Innocence

  • I mean, it was just a little comment, not a big life-or-death issue.

    Welcome to My World

  • As last month's nuclear disaster at Japan's Fukushima power plant shows, such safety considerations can become a life-or-death matter.

    Iran's Bushehr Nuclear Plant to Open With International Oversight

  • Better to stay in their safe tenured little patch of academia than risk saying something on urgent but controversial questions where their purported wisdom might help ordinary people wrestle with huge life-or-death decisions.

    How the End Begins

  • The busker's struggle extends beyond the everyday necessities to life-or-death events that overshadow his performances.

    Doom and Gloom, and the Cult

  • Their experiences and observations underscore why changing the health care system has proved so hard for presidents and policymakers: the complexity of the system, the pressure from chronic diseases, the shortfall in preventive care, the high costs, the competing demands — and the life-or-death stakes.

    '24 hours in the ER' shows challenges of health system

  • Now he's been seriously injured in yet another crash and will require life-or-death brain surgery.

    General Hospital's Steve Burton on Jason's Life or Death Surgery

  • Sideburned men in bell-bottomed jeans dashed from building to building, cradling Kalashnikovs, in a life-or-death game of hide-and-go-seek.

    Day of Honey


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