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

Keep scrolling for more

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 Frontal attacks on existing traditions run the risk of encouraging destructive Jacobins who, in this case, along with abolition of sati may resort to pulling down all Devi temples and abolishing the Bhagavad Gita. Jaithirth Rao, Quartz India, "Can Hindu conservatives make room for reform in religion?," 4 Nov. 2019 These Green New Dealers want to abolish fossil fuels, which are the lubricant, pun intended, that runs our economy. Dp Opinion, The Denver Post, "Letters: Ideas to address the high costs of health care (11/2/19)," 3 Nov. 2019 So Harris doesn’t want to abolish private insurance after all? NBC News, "Why the stakes for Biden in this week's debates are so high," 29 July 2019 As for the handful of states that did away with the insanity defense, the U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear arguments Oct. 7 in Kahler v. Kansas, in which a death-row inmate asserts that abolishing the defense was unconstitutional. Paul Duggan, Washington Post, "Here’s how the insanity defense works," 4 Sep. 2019 Alabama lawmakers responded by passing a law that abolished the wage increase. John Blake, CNN, "The Fight for $15 takes on the 'Jim Crow economy'," 13 Apr. 2018 The moves come as Erdogan, in power for 15 years, prepares to cement his control with elections next year that will abolish the post of prime minister and codify what is essentially one-man rule. Bloomberg.com, "Forget Facebook: Turkey Is Moving to Control All Content," 31 Mar. 2018 The second case was McDonald being part of the majority as the state Supreme Court issued a 4-3 ruling in 2015 that effectively abolished the state’s death penalty. Dave Collins, The Seattle Times, "Critics, supporters of chief justice nominee rally bases," 25 Feb. 2018 While Warren adamantly made the case to abolish the procedure in Congress, Sanders and Biden reject the move. Tovin Lapan, Fortune, "Elizabeth Warren Captains Steady Ascent Into Third Democratic Debate," 13 Sep. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about abolish

Statistics for abolish

Last Updated

14 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for abolish

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

What made you want to look up abolish? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


concealed or difficult to comprehend

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Pass the Little Ribbons: A Pasta Word Quiz

  • pasta resembling wheels with spokes
  • Match the pasta to its meaning in English: Rotelle
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!