Green’s Dictionary of Slang

sudden death on phr.

[ext. sudden adj.]

1. unnecessarily cruel or severe towards.

[Aus]Melbourne Punch 26 Nov. 11/1: If you ever probed to the bottom you would find that in his time he had attempted to ‘ring in’ one or two bits of slang himself, and, having failed most lamentably, he was sudden death on it ever afterwards.
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 31 Mar. 1/6: The man who runs the Orange ‘Western Advocate’ was about the most revolutionary and inflammatory speaker that Australia ever saw. Torpy at one time was sudden death on Chinamen.
[Aus]Sydney Sportsman (Surry Hills, NSW) 25 Dec. 6/6: The Chairman of the Swimming Council was sudden death on the application of the newly-formed Eastern Suburbs Association for permission to handicap the events.
Journal (Adelaide) 10 Sept. 1/6: He was sudden death on anything in the form of foul play.
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 12 July 6/1: He was sudden death on any doubtful play right from the commencement.
[Aus]Baker Popular Dict. Aus. Sl.
Gloucester Advocate (NSW) 15 Oct. 1/2: He was ‘sudden death’ on any unwilling contestants, made the boys fight and by efficient handling of the bouts and strict supervision of the fighters kept the programme moving.
Healesville Guardian (Lilydale, Vic.) 21 June 4/2: Umpire W. Cutting had charge of the match and was ‘sudden death’ on dropping the ball.
[Ire](con. 1945) S. McAughtry Touch and Go 101: Judges are sudden death on working-class men getting full drunk.

2. expert, skilled at.

[Aus]Baker Popular Dict. Aus. Sl.

3. attacking vigorously; taking swift advantage of.

[Aus]Dly Mercury (Mackay, Qld) 10 Sept. 3/2: He seemed to run the Czech veteran back and forth across the baseline at will and was sudden death on anything short.

4. outplaying, comprehensively defeating.

Western Herald (Bourke, NSW) 30 June 5/2: The Tottenham defence was ‘sudden death’ on Bourke’s inside backs.