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 Set in England in 1965, Hangmen explores what Britain’s second-most-famous executioner will do now that hanging has been abolished. Maureen Lee Lenker, EW.com, "Dan Stevens among cast announced for Martin McDonagh's Hangmen Broadway run," 4 Dec. 2019 Khan appealed his sentence and in April 2013 his conviction was overturned from an indeterminate sentence -- which were abolished in 2012 -- to an extended determinate sentence. Tara John, Vasco Cotovio And Lauren Kent, CNN, "Acts of heroism emerge after London terror attack," 30 Nov. 2019 After a period of relative independence, Basque self-government was abolished by the Spanish government in Madrid beginning in 1839. Erin Blakemore, National Geographic, "How the Basques became an autonomous community within Spain," 24 Oct. 2019 Those sentences were later commuted to life in prison after the death penalty was abolished in California in 1972. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, "The Real Sharon Tate Was So Much More Than Her Tragic Death," 28 July 2019 Earlier in the day, at least six people who hung a banner emblazoned with a message about abolishing the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency from the statue's pedestal were arrested. Crimesider Staff, CBS News, "Liberty Island evacuated after woman climbs onto Statue of Liberty pedestal," 4 July 2018 Beyond that, the protesters say the confessional system should be abolished to accommodate a younger generation that has no memories of the civil war and has broken away from religious affiliations. Dana Khraiche | Bloomberg, Washington Post, "Why Lebanon Protesters Target Religion-Based Politics," 21 Nov. 2019 Business didn’t go away; it wasn’t abolished; capitalists didn’t go into gulags. Anand Giridharadas, Time, "How America’s Elites Lost Their Grip," 21 Nov. 2019 Set in England in 1965, Hangmen explores what Britain’s (second most) famous executioner will do now that hanging has been abolished. Sydney Bucksbaum, EW.com, "Martin McDonagh’s award-winning play Hangmen heading to Broadway," 18 Nov. 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

12 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Abolish.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/abolishable. Accessed 14 December 2019.

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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

Comments on abolish

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to assail by words or arguments

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