Definition of cul-de-sac in English:


Syllabification: cul-de-sac
Pronunciation: /ˈkəl di ˌsak

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

  • 1A street or passage closed at one end.
    More 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.
    More 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'.

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