abol·​ish | \ ə-ˈbä-lish How to pronounce abolish (audio) \
abolished; abolishing; abolishes

Definition of abolish

transitive verb

: to end the observance or effect of (something, such as a law) : to completely do away with (something) : annul abolish a law abolish slavery

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Other Words from abolish

abolishable \ ə-​ˈbä-​li-​shə-​bəl How to pronounce abolishable (audio) \ adjective
abolisher noun
abolishment \ ə-​ˈbä-​lish-​mənt How to pronounce abolishment (audio) \ noun

Examples of abolish in a Sentence

He is in favor of abolishing the death penalty. the U.S. abolished slavery by constitutional amendment on December 6, 1865
Recent Examples on the Web As with many things on the Biden-Harris agenda, a Republican Senate could stop it, and so might a 50-50 Senate or one that has yet to abolish the filibuster. Dan Mclaughlin, National Review, "I Was ‘Never Trump’ in 2016. I’m Still a Conservative. Here’s How I’m Voting," 2 Nov. 2020 Biden’s health care plan would not abolish private insurance, as Trump’s claim insinuates. Chelsey Cox, USA TODAY, "Debate fact check: Where Trump, Biden claims land on COVID-19, fracking, race, more," 23 Oct. 2020 The Seattle City Council is looking to abolish its police force, this coming days after 59 Seattle officers were hurt in the Seattle riots. Fox News, "Tropical Storm Isaias could hit Carolinas at near-hurricane strength," 3 Aug. 2020 The aim should be to abolish within oneself, and between oneself and others, adjectives. Clair Wills, The New York Review of Books, "Stepping Out," 3 Aug. 2020 And while many states have made moves to abolish that clause altogether, Ohio, along with several other states, still have this exception in their constitutions. Alisha Ebrahimji, CNN, "Slavery as a punishment for crimes is still legal in Ohio and lawmakers have been trying to change that for years," 24 June 2020 There have been efforts both in the U.S. and elsewhere to abolish these yearly time changes, either by adopting permanent daylight saving or sticking to standard time alone. Diana Kwon, Scientific American, "Governments Worldwide Consider Ditching Daylight Saving Time," 29 Oct. 2020 Trump continues to insist that Biden has proposed to abolish fracking – a politically sensitive topic in the critical battleground state of Pennsylvania – even as the former vice president has repeatedly pledged not to do so. John Fritze, USA TODAY, "From taxes to court-packing: Outstanding questions that will haunt Trump and Biden in final debate," 22 Oct. 2020 Disillusioned by the failure of Obama-era reforms to rein in abuse, many leaders of the new push for racial justice are calling to defund the police and abolish their unions altogether. Sam Adler-bell, The New Republic, "How Police Unions Bully Politicians," 20 Oct. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'abolish.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of abolish

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for abolish

Middle English abolysshen, borrowed from Middle French aboliss-, stem of abolir "to abolish," borrowed from Latin abolēre "to destroy, efface, put an end to," perhaps formed from abolēscere "to shrivel up, be effaced, fall into disuse," from ab- ab- + -ol-, medial form of the base of alere "to nourish, bring up" + -ēsc-, inchoative suffix — more at old entry 1

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Time Traveler for abolish

Time Traveler

The first known use of abolish was in the 15th century

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Statistics for abolish

Last Updated

19 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Abolish.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/abolish. Accessed 25 Nov. 2020.

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More Definitions for abolish


abol·​ish | \ ə-ˈbä-lish How to pronounce abolish (audio) \
abolished; abolishing

Kids Definition of abolish

: to do away with : put an end to abolish discrimination

Legal Definition of abolish

: to end the observance or effect of : annul

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