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

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 In a statement, Pan wrote: As the latest measles outbreak threatens the country’s elimination status, California acted to keep children safe at school by abolishing non-medical exemptions. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Revised CA vaccine bill would revoke exemptions from infamous anti-vax doc [Updated]," 9 Sep. 2019 Artist and activist Lili Bernard, one of the public accusers against actor Bill Cosby, recounted her experience as a survivor of child abuse and rape, and as an activist to help abolish the statute of limitations on rape prosecution in California. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Parkland shooting survivors share songs of hope," 8 Sep. 2019 What’s driving automakers: President Trump wants to abolish the strict environmental standards the Obama administration placed on automakers. Los Angeles Times, "Newsletter: Just in time for Labor Day, why ‘uncured’ deli meats aren’t as safe as you thought," 2 Sep. 2019 Many want to abolish the death penalty, redirect resources toward education and mental health services, and foster trust between minority communities and the police. Seamus Kirst, Teen Vogue, "These Progressive Prosecutors Want to Reshape Justice in Major American Cities," 29 July 2019 Emanuel announces changes to how police shootings and misconduct cases are handled but draws criticism for stopping short of abolishing the Independent Police Review Authority. Washington Post, "A timeline of the Chicago police shooting of Laquan McDonald," 18 July 2019 Delaney, who has positioned himself as a moderate in the field, attacked the idea of abolishing private insurance. Mark Z. Barabak, latimes.com, "Democratic debate: Candidates tackle immigration, taxes, climate change and guns," 26 June 2019 Still, many other Democrats are rejecting the slogan, and those in favor of abolishing ICE number fewer than two dozen out of nearly 250 Democrats in Congress, according to a rough tally kept by NBC News. Alex Seitz-wald /, NBC News, "As the 'Abolish ICE' movement grows, the White House announces it will 'save ICE'," 5 July 2018

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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Statistics for abolish

Last Updated

17 Oct 2019

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Time Traveler for abolish

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

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on abolish

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with abolish

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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).


a topic to which one constantly reverts

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