I cannot understand the example sentence in the definition of the 1st meaning of coup de grâce in Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary.

  1. Please explain about the meaning of "deal" which is used in past simple form in the sentence.
  2. Is the verb "deal" transitive or intransitive here?

Besides oxford, I looked at merriam-webster and cambridge dictionary but couldn't find a meaning that makes sense in the sentense.

Here is the excerpt from the dictionary with the example sentence in bold face:

coup de grâce noun

1.an action or event that finally ends something that has been getting weaker or worse

  • My disastrous exam results dealt the coup de grâce to my university career.

For example in Oxford and Cambridge overally there are three meanings for "deal" with the third meaning only appearing in cambridge:

  1. to give cards to each player in a game of cards: He dealt me two aces.
  2. to buy and sell illegal drugs: He was sent to jail for dealing drugs to his friends.
  3. to do business: We only deal with companies which have a good credit record:

I also looked at merriam-webster and It has 11 meanings but I couldn't relate any meaning to the mentioned sentence.

  • 3
    Merriam-Webster 2: ADMINISTER, DELIVER - dealt him a blow. Cambridge: deal a blow to sb/sth (also deal sb/sth a blow) - to cause someone or something, usually a plan or hope, to fail or to be affected very badly. The latest trade figures have dealt a severe blow to hopes of an early economic recovery. Jun 1, 2022 at 12:40

1 Answer 1


Lexico gives the following minor sense of "deal"

inflict (a blow) on (someone or something).

It is used idiomatically with words like "punch", "cut", or "damage".

The boxer was dealt a blow to the head.

It is clearly transitive. The direct object is "the coup de grace".

  • It also has a secondary, supporting meaning. It can be seen in the sense of a bad card being dealt to a card player. Jun 14, 2022 at 1:16

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