Dictionary.com

DOA

or D.O.A.

Save This Word!

dead on arrival.
QUIZ
SPRINT TO THE FINISH WITH THIS OLYMPICS QUIZ!
Compete in our Olympics quiz to see if you can take home the gold medal in Olympics knowledge.
Question 1 of 10
Where was the Olympics first held?
Meet Grammar CoachWrite or paste your essay, email, or story into Grammar Coach and get grammar helpImprove Your Writing
Meet Grammar CoachImprove Your Writing
Write or paste your essay, email, or story into Grammar Coach and get grammar help
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

ABOUT THIS WORD

What does DOA mean?

DOA stands for dead on arrival. Outside of law enforcement and hospitals, DOA is used figuratively for a hopeless situation or something doomed from the start.

How is DOA pronounced?

[ dee-oh-ey ]

Where does DOA come from?

DOA, for dead on arrival, is found around 1920–30 to describe a victim who is discovered already dead upon the arrival of first responders, such as police officers, or EMTs and hospital workers. Brought in dead (BID) is a similar expression.

DOA had become common enough outside the law enforcement and medical communities to title a classic 1949 film noir about a man who’s been poisoned.

United Artists Corporation

Since then, DOA has seen other uses in popular culture, from band names to professional wrestling promotions to a brand of fishing lures. In 1970, the rock band Bloodrock released “D.O.A.” about a plane crash victim.

How is DOA used in real life?

DOA is widely used by police officers and medical personnel to characterize the status of a victim.

The figurative DOA is used, less morbidly and for dramatic effect, to describe hopeless situations or things that just never had a chance in the first place. They were metaphorically dead before they even started. It’s often used in politics for bills or proposals that never had a chance of succeeding.

 

More examples of DOA:

“With Philly’s construction tax ‘D.O.A.,’ Kenney proposes alternative”

—Holly Otterbein and Chris Brennan, Philadelphia Inquirer (headline), September 2018

How to use DOA in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for DOA

DOA

abbreviation for
dead on arrival
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Medical definitions for DOA

DOA

abbr.
dead on admission
dead on arrival
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
FEEDBACK