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 Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is already teeing up the House’s most radical bills, from H.R.1 (a federal takeover of state election laws) to the PRO Act (which would abolish state right-to-work laws, among other union-friendly provisions). Kimberley A. Strassel, WSJ, "Joe Manchin’s Filibuster Test," 11 Mar. 2021 Analysts fear Bukele could press for a new constitution that would abolish the one-term limit on the presidency, as happened in Nicaragua. Washington Post, "El Salavador’s leader looks to consolidate power in midterm vote; critics fear rising authoritarianism," 28 Feb. 2021 The 1619 Project claims that Somerset planted a fear in American slaveholders that the British government would abolish the institution in the colonies. William Hogeland, The New Republic, "Against the Consensus Approach to History," 25 Jan. 2021 Smith’s words, published in 1759, came 48 years before Britain’s 1807 act to abolish the slave trade. Daniel Klein, National Review, "Cancel Culture Stalks Adam Smith, an Ardent Foe of Slavery," 14 Mar. 2021 Meanwhile, the authors of the charter change to abolish the MPD failed to meet basic timelines in submitting their proposal to the Charter Commission in 2020. Paul Ostrow, Star Tribune, "Minneapolis needs reformers, not performers," 28 Feb. 2021 The same communities that created vogue are the ones heralding calls to defund police and abolish ICE. Michael Roberson, Time, "The Ballroom Scene Has Long Offered Radical Freedoms For Black and Brown Queer People. Today, That Matters More Than Ever," 26 Feb. 2021 There is significant dissent within the party over whether to abolish or overhaul the filibuster, a procedural maneuver that allows the minority party to block a final vote on Senate legislation by requiring a 60-vote threshold to continue. Marianna Sotomayor, BostonGlobe.com, "Narrow relief bill victory provides warning signs for broader Democratic agenda," 8 Mar. 2021 The document was silent on whether Beijing would abolish birth restrictions. Liyan Qi, WSJ, "Short on Babies, China Wants People to Live and Work Longer," 5 Mar. 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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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

6 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Abolish.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/abolish. Accessed 13 Apr. 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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