life-or-death

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life-or-death

1. Involving or pertaining to the risk or possibility that someone may die. (Used prenominally.) As a police officer in this neighborhood, you end up facing life-or-death situations on a regular basis.
2. Extremely serious or of dire consequences; of imperative importance. We've got some life-or-death decisions to make at the next board meeting that will determine the fate of the company.
References in classic literature ?
Nothing evil can happen to the good man either in life or death, and his own death has been permitted by the gods, because it was better for him to depart; and therefore he forgives his judges because they have done him no harm, although they never meant to do him any good.
On the other hand, his hope of immortality is uncertain;--he also conceives of death as a long sleep (in this respect differing from the Phaedo), and at last falls back on resignation to the divine will, and the certainty that no evil can happen to the good man either in life or death.
Her lips were about to pass his sentence of life or death.
We stood there, grouped about the body of the dead Grabritin, looking futilely down the river to where it made an abrupt curve to the west, a quarter of a mile below us, and was lost to sight, as though we expected to see the truant returning to us with our precious launch--the thing that meant life or death to us in this unfriendly, savage world.
He gave them wisdom, advice, reward, punishment, life or death, with the same serenity of attitude and voice.
The sun went down, and night came on, and he was still quite tranquil; busied with these thoughts, as if there were no other people in the world, and the dull cloud of smoke hanging on the immense city in the distance, hid no vices, no crimes, no life or death, or cause of disquiet--nothing but clear air.