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

Other Words from abolish

abolishable \ ə-​ˈbä-​li-​shə-​bəl How to pronounce abolish (audio) \ adjective
abolisher noun
abolishment \ ə-​ˈbä-​lish-​mənt How to pronounce abolish (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 More than 100 nations globally have outlawed capital punishment, according to data from the Death Penalty Project, a nonprofit, with Sierra Leone in July being the latest country to abolish the death penalty for all crimes. Washington Post, 5 Nov. 2021 Last year, Colorado, for example, became the 22nd state to abolish the death penalty. Eric Ferkenhoff, USA TODAY, 7 Oct. 2021 Politics High-profile murder victims’ family urges Utah legislature to abolish the death penalty. Bryan Schott, The Salt Lake Tribune, 16 Sep. 2021 Gambia had been on track to abolish the death penalty last year, when a new Constitution was drafted. New York Times, 23 July 2021 The memory of this occupation—and those in 1994 and 2004— has cast a shadow over Haiti’s glorious past as the first nation to permanently abolish slavery. Marlene L. Daut, Essence, 22 Sep. 2021 After all, Haiti was the first country the world to abolish slavery. Patrick D Bellegarde-smith, The Conversation, 12 July 2021 But Virginia repealed its manumission law in 1806, and in the 1820s, rejected attempts to abolish slavery. Michael Barone, Arkansas Online, 24 June 2021 New Jersey was the last Northern state to abolish slavery. Christopher Brito, CBS News, 21 June 2021

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

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Last Updated

20 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Abolish.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/abolish. Accessed 29 Nov. 2021.

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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


transitive verb

Legal Definition of abolish

: to end the observance or effect of : annul

More from Merriam-Webster on abolish

Nglish: Translation of abolish for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of abolish for Arabic Speakers


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