- ending with the death or possible death of one of the participants; crucially important: The cobra was engaged in a life-and-death struggle with the mongoose.
Origin of life-and-death
First recorded in 1680–90
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Related Words for life and deathgreat, notable, preeminent, big, crucial, vital, significant, radical, serious, main, principal, acute, insistent, demanding, compelling, imperative, immediate, dire, critical, necessary
life and death
see matter of life and death.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.