the kiss of death

kiss of death

An action or relationship that is ultimately ruinous. For example, Some regard a royal divorce as a kiss of death to the monarchy. This term alludes to the betrayal of Jesus by Judas Iscariot, who kissed him as a way of identifying him to the soldiers who came to arrest him (Matthew 26: 47-49). It dates only from about 1940 but was previously called a Judas kiss.
See also: death, kiss, of

the kiss of death

COMMON If an event or action is the kiss of death for something, it is certain to cause that thing to fail or be ruined. The conventional view of the timber industry is that it is the kiss of death for a rainforest. Living with other painters is the kiss of death. Note: This expression refers to the Bible story of how Judas betrayed Jesus by kissing him. This identified Jesus to the Romans, and led to his arrest and crucifixion.
See also: death, kiss, of

kiss of death

n. the direct cause of the end of someone or something. Your attitude was the kiss of death for your employment here.
See also: death, kiss, of