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

  • adj. Variant of life-and-death.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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

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

  • adj. vitally important


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • 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

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

    Doom and Gloom, and the Cult

  • 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

  • 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

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

    The Dark Side of Innocence

  • 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

  • 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

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

    Welcome to My World

  • 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


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