adjective, dead·li·er, dead·li·est.

  1. causing or tending to cause death; fatal; lethal: a deadly poison.
  2. aiming to kill or destroy; implacable: a deadly enemy.
  3. like death: a deadly pallor.
  4. excruciatingly boring: The dinner party was absolutely deadly.
  5. excessive; inordinate: deadly haste.
  6. extremely accurate: Annie Oakley was a deadly shot.


  1. in a manner resembling or suggesting death: deadly pale.
  2. excessively; completely: deadly dull.

adjective -lier or -liest

  1. likely to cause deathdeadly poison; deadly combat
  2. informal extremely boring

adverb, adjective

  1. like death in appearance or certaintydeadly pale; a deadly sleep

Old English deadlic “mortal, subject to death,” also “causing death;” see dead + -ly (1). Meaning “having the capacity to kill” is from late 14c. (Old English words for this included deaðbærlic, deaðberende).

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