Share this entry
cul-de-sac Line breaks: cul-de-sac
Pronunciation: /ˈkʌldəˌsak/

Definition of cul-de-sac in English:

noun (plural culs-de-sac or cul-de-sacs pronounced same or ˈkʌldəˌsaksˈkʊldəˌsaks)

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.
1.1A route or course leading nowhere: was the new post a career 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 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'.

Definition of cul-de-sac in:
Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Related Words