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 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 In 2018, state lawmakers approved legislation, SB10, to abolish the cash bail system and allow judges to decide, for all but the most serious crimes, whether defendants should be freed without bail while awaiting trial. Bob Egelko, San Francisco Chronicle, "State Supreme Court cuts back cash bail system, allowing release for many without posting bond," 25 Mar. 2021 This fall, the inaugural convening of upEND, a coordinated, national movement to abolish the child welfare system, drew over 5,000 viewers. Chris Gottlieb, Time, "Black Families Are Outraged About Family Separation Within the U.S. It's Time to Listen to Them," 17 Mar. 2021 Elected as secretary of state last fall, Fagan is also leading nationwide efforts to abolish the Electoral College as Americans know it and pledged to help form a nonpartisan redistricting commission. Tim Gruver, Washington Examiner, "Oregon state leaders split on how to resolve redistricting dilemma as deadline approaches," 12 Mar. 2021 Push to abolish the Electoral College; pass national automatic voter registration; turn D.C. and Puerto Rico into states—all things that would make our system more equitable. Clio Chang, The New Republic, "Democrats Shouldn’t Just Restore American Democracy. They Should Reinvent It.," 9 Jan. 2021 In a letter to the editor of the New York Times, Columbia University professor Stuart Gottlieb pushes back against the endless campaign to abolish the Electoral College: ... James Freeman, WSJ, "Obama Wins Another Round Against Community Organizers," 18 Dec. 2020 Colorado is the latest state to consider adopting the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, which seeks to essentially abolish the Electoral College without going through the near-impossible task of amending the U.S. Constitution. Trevor Hughes, USA TODAY, "As Trump, Biden hammer at swing states, advocates work to dismantle Electoral College," 28 Oct. 2020 To abolish the Electoral College, however, would require a Constitutional amendment. National Geographic, "Here’s why the Electoral College exists—and how it could be reformed," 16 Oct. 2020 Back in the day, Indiana Democrat Birch Bayh spent 18 years in the Senate trying to amend the Constitution to abolish the Electoral College. Wil Armstrong, The Denver Post, "Guest Commentary: Coloradans should reject the National Popular Vote scheme," 18 June 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

30 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Abolish.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/abolish. Accessed 8 May. 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

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Comments on abolish

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