Definition of cul-de-sac in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈkəldəˌsak/

noun (plural cul-de-sacs or culs-de-sac /ˈkəl(z)/ )

1A street or passage closed at one end.
Example sentences
  • Even working waste collection vehicles could not negotiate many back streets and cul-de-sacs for fear of losing their grip on the road while turning.
  • Although Winterscale Street is a cul-de-sac, highway officials admit they have no safety concerns which would warrant refusal.
  • And they know it's your car because they know you and they know you because your street is a cul-de-sac and strangers have little reason to walk through it.
dead end, no exit;
blind alley
1.1A route or course leading nowhere: the pro-democracy forces found themselves in a political cul-de-sac
More example sentences
  • They were ultimately led by a man who was stuck in a political cul-de-sac as claustrophobic as the compound in which he was effectively imprisoned for the past two years.
  • A word to the wise: a policy to reintroduce traffic to the footstreets is a political cul-de-sac.
  • How could such euphoria and triumphalism end only two years later in the political cul-de-sac of voter apathy?
1.2 Anatomy A vessel, tube, or sac, e.g., the cecum, open at only one end.
Example sentences
  • The inside of the appendix forms a cul-de-sac that usually opens into the large intestine.
  • It is performed by first drying the tear film, then inserting a Schirmer strip into the lower conjunctival cul-de-sac toward the temporal aspect of the lower lid.
  • The surgeon performed a physical examination and noted extreme tenderness in the posterior uterine cul-de-sac upon pelvic examination.


Mid 18th century (originally in anatomy): French, literally 'bottom of a sack'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: cul-de-sac

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