a nail in the coffin
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial, Encyclopedia.
nail in the coffin
An event, decision, action, etc., that can or will lead to the failure or cessation of something. The candidate's uncouth comment about the lower class was the final nail in the coffin. That class action lawsuit could be a nail in the coffin of a company that has already seen its fair share of controversy.
a nail in the coffinan action or event regarded as likely to have a detrimental or destructive effect on a situation, enterprise, or person.
1981 R. Lancaster Plant Hunting in Nepal A major nail in the coffin of the plant hunter, so some people believe, is the growing importance placed on plant conservation in the wild.