matter of life and death


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matter of life and death

Something that is gravely serious. This top-secret project is a matter of life and death, so every bit of information in it needs to be accurate. I'm a nurse, so if I make a mistake at my job, it's a matter of life and death.
See also: and, death, life, matter, of

matter of life and death

Cliché an issue of great urgency; an issue that will decide between living and dying. We must find a doctor. It's a matter of life and death. A matter of life and death demands that I return home at once.
See also: and, death, life, matter, of

matter of life and death, a

A very urgent issue, situation, or circumstance. This expression can be used either literally, as in She told the doctor to hurry as it was a matter of life and death, or hyperbolically, as in Don't worry about finishing on time-it's hardly a matter of life and death. First recorded in 1849, it alludes to such urgency that someone's life depends on it. Although a matter of life or death would make more sense, it is rarely put that way.
See also: and, life, matter, of

a matter of life and death

or

a matter of life or death

COMMON If something is a matter of life and death or a matter of life or death, it is extremely important, often because someone could die or suffer great harm if something is not done. 24-hour care can actually be a matter of life and death for premature babies. Please, keep your voice down and just do what I say. This is a matter of life or death. Note: People say that something is not a matter of life and death to say that it is not very important, especially when someone else is acting as if it is. Well, never mind, John, it's not a matter of life and death. Note: People use life-and-death before nouns to describe a situation that is extremely serious or dangerous. We're dealing with a life-and-death situation here.
See also: and, death, life, matter, of

a matter of life and death

a matter of vital importance.
See also: and, death, life, matter, of

matter of life and death, a

An issue of vital importance. This term, used since the mid-nineteenth century, makes more sense as a matter of life or death, and indeed it sometimes is so used. An 1837 letter of Dickens states, “It is matter of life or death to us, to know whether you have got Ainsworth’s MS yet.” However, a life-and-death matter appears with equal frequency.
See also: and, life, matter, of
References in periodicals archive ?
A Matter of Life and Death, between May 10-26, is aiming to encourage open and honest conversation about death and dying through a variety of events aimed at all ages.
Kicking off A Matter of Life and Death is Annabel de Vetten of Conjurer's Kitchen with a Movie Taste-Along to the cult horror Sleepy Hollow, starring Johnny Depp.
"During the Movie Taste-Along I pause the film at certain points and then hand out an edible representation of what is on the screen - I'm not saying what they will be because they are a surprise and they certainly won't be what people expect!" Annabel held a hugely successful Death and Dine event for last year's A Matter of Life and Death and says she is honoured to be launching this year's festival.
"A Matter of Life and Death is so important because it's about making people aware of the possibilities that are open to them and that there are so many ways of celebrating someone's life after they have gone.
During the day on Saturday, May 12, Birmingham Library hosts A Matter of Life and Death's family events with performances of Bootworks Theatre's The Many Doors of Frank Feelbad, exploring bereavement for young people.
"I feel the A Matter of Life and Death festival is vital and I am incredibly proud to be part of it."
Which is in keeping with the aims of A Matter of Life and Death.
A Matter of Life and Death is rounded off with the Crema-tour-ium, a behind-the-scenes visit to Redditch Crematorium and to Westall Park Natural Burial Ground on Saturday, May 26.
BRUMYODO has held events in Birmingham for four years and launched A Matter of Life and Death, which is supported by Arts Council England, last year.
"This year's A Matter of Life and Death is packed with lots of very different activities which we hope will make people laugh, will encourage them to chat and will definitely make them think.
A Matter of Life and Death: 60 Voices Share Their Wisdom
Everything that pretends to be a matter of life and death but isn't revealed itself.
The abortion issue, he wrote, "can't disappear for believing Catholics and many others, because it is a matter of life and death, a defining issue not only personally but socially.
In May 1972 the Ontario bishops wrote, "Human life, even unborn, should have the protection of civil law" (A matter of life and death).