Kiss-of-death meaning

An action or quality, often seemingly helpful, which is actually harmful or ruinous.
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Something that is ultimately ruinous, destructive, or fatal.
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A kiss on the cheek that signifies the death of the receiver, as delivered by a mob boss or one with such influence.
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(informal, idiomatic) Something that may seem good and favourable but that actually brings ruin to hopes, plans, etc.

The role in the soap opera was the kiss of death for Ann's career as a theatrical actress.

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Origin of kiss-of-death

  • From the kiss by which Judas betrayed Jesus (Mark 14:44–46)

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • Biblical: Judas betraying Jesus with a kiss.

    From Wiktionary