abol·ish | \ ə-ˈbä-lish \
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 \-li-shə-bəl \ adjective
abolisher noun
abolishment \-mənt \ 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

After years of reputational decline because of an army coup in 2014 — one of a dozen successful putsches since the country abolished an absolute monarchy in 1932 — Thailand’s military has been handed an opportunity to burnish its image. Hannah Beech, The Seattle Times, "For some Thai soccer-team members, cave ordeal was only their latest test," 10 July 2018 The suit states that no law mandates that prisoners be counted in the district where they are incarcerated, and notes that there were legislative proposals to abolish that policy in 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2016. Matthew Kauffman, courant.com, "NAACP Sues Connecticut Over 'Prison Gerrymandering'," 28 June 2018 Lewis was taken from West Africa aboard the Clotilda in 1860 and sold into slavery in the United States, more than 50 years after the international slave trade was abolished in 1808. Bailey Bischoff, The Christian Science Monitor, "Zora Neale Hurston explores the life of a slave trade survivor in 'Barracoon'," 31 May 2018 Congress didn’t abolish it, but merely took away its funding. Clive Thompson, WIRED, "Why Congress Needs to Revive Its Tech Support Team," 13 July 2018 As a progressive, Serrano has introduced bills to improve public housing and recently joined the call to abolish Immigrations and Customs Enforcement. Meagan Fredette, Teen Vogue, "Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Won New York's 15th District Reform Party Primary Even Though She Wasn't Running," 11 July 2018 Right now, the call to abolish ICE is more hashtag than serious proposal. Margo Schlanger, Washington Post, "You’ve heard the calls to #AbolishICE. Here’s what that could mean.," 9 July 2018 Meanwhile, the President ripping Democrats again over their continued call to abolish ICE. Fox News, "Trump eyes even higher tariffs as China trade war escalates," 7 July 2018 While the call to abolish ICE is not new, a growing number of progressives are calling for an end to — or at least a serious reexamination of — the agency responsible for arresting and detaining immigrants. refinery29.com, "Cynthia Nixon: "If Mike Pence Is Attacking Me, I'm Doing Something Right"," 6 July 2018

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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Statistics for abolish

Last Updated

19 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for abolish

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

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More Definitions for abolish


abol·ish | \ ə-ˈbä-lish \
abolished; abolishing

Kids Definition of abolish

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


transitive verb

Legal Definition of abolish 

: to end the observance or effect of : annul

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Comments on abolish

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the setting in which something occurs

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