nail in (someone's or something's) coffin

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nail in (someone's or something's) coffin

Something that will eventually contribute to someone or something's downfall or death. That class action lawsuit is going to be the nail in the company's coffin. Every beer you drink is a nail in your coffin.
See also: coffin, nail

(another) nail in (someone's or something's) coffin

Fig. something that will harm or destroy someone or something. (Alludes to the sealing of a coffin with nails.) Every word of criticism that Bob said about the boss was another nail in his coffin. Losing their biggest customer was the final nail in the company's coffin.
See also: coffin, nail

nail in one's coffin

Something that might hasten or contribute to one's death, as in Every cigarette you smoke is another nail in your coffin. This expression, alluding to fastening down a coffin lid, is today almost always used for a harmful habit such as tobacco use (giving rise to the slang term coffin nail for a cigar or cigarette). The idea was first expressed in an ode by Pindar (the pseudonym of John Wolcot) in 1792: "Care to our coffin adds a nail, no doubt."
See also: coffin, nail