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Meaning of life-and-death

life-and-death

Pronunciation: (līf'un-deth'), [key]
— adj.
  1. ending with the death or possible death of one of the participants; crucially important: The cobra was engaged in a life-and-death struggle with the mongoose.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.