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 The union is now planning to abolish the region and merge its locals with two other regions in February. Eric D. Lawrence, Detroit Free Press, "Vance Pearson, who led UAW Region 5, expected to plead guilty in corruption probe," 6 Jan. 2020 New Hampshire became the 21st state to abolish the death penalty this year, according to the DPIC report. Mike Cason | Mcason@al.com, al, "Alabama among national leaders in carrying out death penalty," 17 Dec. 2019 In 2016, Bevin issued an executive order to abolish the University of Louisville Board of Trustees. Ben Tobin, The Courier-Journal, "Newly ousted members of Kentucky Board of Education will sue Gov. Andy Beshear," 10 Dec. 2019 In the past three years state courts have struck down the death penalty in Delaware and Washington; California’s governor imposed a moratorium in March; and in May, the New Hampshire legislature voted to abolish it. S.m. | New York, The Economist, "Texas plans to execute a man who says DNA evidence could exonerate him," 23 Sep. 2019 No other Western democracy permits capital punishment, and there have been bipartisan efforts in an array of states to abolish it. Peter Slevin, The New Yorker, "Witnessing a Federal Execution," 4 Sep. 2019 More recently, the topic has emerged as an issue in the 2020 presidential campaign, with Democratic candidates including Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris announcing their intention to abolish the practice. Sarah Sarder, Dallas News, "Trucker who joked about killing daughter in Texas faces federal execution after long hiatus," 1 Aug. 2019 In 1898, the Virginia legislature at last voted to abolish the whipping post. Drew Gilpin Faust, The Atlantic, "Race, History, and Memories of a Virginia Girlhood," 18 July 2019 Many reformers would like to abolish it altogether. David C. Pyrooz And Meghan M. Mitchell, WSJ, "Solitary Confinement Helps Control Prison Gangs," 11 Mar. 2019

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

10 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Abolish.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/abolish. Accessed 18 January 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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More from Merriam-Webster on abolish

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for abolish

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with abolish

Spanish Central: Translation of abolish

Nglish: Translation of abolish for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of abolish for Arabic Speakers

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