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1. Literally, a legal judgment that a person shall be put to death following a criminal conviction. He was given the death sentence for the murders he committed.
2. By extension, that which ensures the death, destruction, ruin, or failure of someone or something. If passed, this piece of regulation will be a death sentence to our business. We can't just put an end to the humanitarian aid program—it would be a death sentence for thousands of people in the region!
pass sentence (on someone or something)
1. Literally, of a judge, to determine and read out a sentence following a criminal conviction. Before I pass sentence, I want to allow a victim-impact statement to be read aloud before the court. The judge passed a sentence of 35 years on the convicted murderer.
2. To make or render a judgment someone or something, especially hastily or preemptively. I know you usually don't like musicals, but don't pass sentence until you see this one for yourself. The president has been quick to pass sentence on those who speak out against her policies.
sentence (one) to (something)
To impose a particular legal penalty upon one who is found guilty of a crime. The judge sentenced the former CEO to 30 years in prison for his role in defrauding millions of customers over the span of 15 years. They sentenced him to 5 years of hard labor for simply stealing a loaf of bread.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
pass sentence on someone
1. Lit. [for a judge] to read out the sentence of punishment for a convicted criminal. It is my job as judge to pass sentence on you. The judge was about to pass sentence on Max—ten years in prison.
2. Fig. [for someone] to render a judgment on another person in the manner of a judge. You have no right to pass judgment on me! I wish you wouldn't pass judgment on everyone around you.
sentence someone to something (for something)
[for a judge] to order someone to suffer confinement, death, or labor for committing a crime. The judge sentenced Roger to three years in prison for the crime. The judge sentenced him to hard labor.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.