dead as a doornail

dead as a doornail

Meaning | Synonyms

  • becoming obsolete
  • thing that is not used anymore
  • non-existing
  • lacking life
  • absolutely dead
  • something that is not functioning properly
  • thing whose presence won’t make any difference


Example Sentences

  1. The flowers are all dead as a doornail.
  2. Malnutrition will leave you all dead as a doornail.
  3. I hit that mosquito using my pencil and now it is dead as a doornail.
  4. The idea to start an online business is dead as a doornail now.
  5. My expensive laptop was dead as a doornail but it is working properly now.
  6. Nobody is going to elect Harry now. His rule is over, dead as a doornail.


Doornail was one of the heavy studded nails on the outside door. There are different sources available which talks about its origin. It is said that it came from a poem named “The Vision of William Concerning Piers Plowman” in the 14th century, where is mentioned as:

“Faith without works is feebler than nothing, and dead as a doornail”

It is also believed that this is an ancient phrase which came earlier in about 1350.

Charles Dicken also used this phrase in his book called “A Christmas Carol” as:

“You will therefore permit me to repeat, emphatically, that Marley was as dead as a doornail.”


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The Idioms Dictionary explains common English idioms that are popular worldwide, especially in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, Singapore, and New Zealand.

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