abol·​ish | \ə-ˈbä-lish \
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 \ -​li-​shə-​bəl \ adjective
abolisher noun
abolishment \ -​mənt \ 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

Once the EU Commission writes and votes on a draft law abolishing seasonal time change, that law would require approval from the 28 EU member country governments as well as approval from EU Parliament. Megan Geuss, Ars Technica, "EU Commission President supports ending seasonal time changes," 31 Aug. 2018 Europeans similarly had to deal with higher fees when crossing borders until the EU regulated and ultimately abolished roaming charges. Sam Byford, The Verge, "Why Apple might make a dual-SIM iPhone," 29 Aug. 2018 News of the letter comes even as some politicians have loudly criticized the immigration agency, even touting plans to draft legislation that would abolish ICE altogether. Keri Blakinger, Houston Chronicle, "Houston man charged with assault after being shot during Homeland Security drug raid," 13 July 2018 Democrats in Congress are introducing a bill that would abolish the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE). Renae Reints, Fortune, "House Democrats Introduced a Bill to Abolish ICE," 12 July 2018 At the time of the election, officials said abolishing the commission would not save money, but would instead pass those expenses on to the counties. Susan Demar Lafferty, Daily Southtown, "Will County to spend $72,400 to take over Aurora precincts," 12 July 2018 Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old former Bernie Sanders volunteer who defeated 10-term incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley in the New York Democratic primary last week, ran on a platform that included abolishing ICE. Rob Tornoe, Philly.com, "Occupy ICE protests: What to know about demonstrations in Portland, Philadelphia and nationally," 6 July 2018 Despite all this, many barristers do not want the wigs and robes abolished. The Economist, "As temperatures rise, English lawyers’ costumes look odder than ever," 5 July 2018 So popular that mainstream Democrats are quickly getting on board with things like abolishing ICE: this past week both Kamala Harris and Kirsten Gillibrand have publicly endorsed the position. Luke Darby, GQ, "Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Has a Message for Democrats: It's Time to Think Big," 30 June 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

14 Nov 2018

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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 \
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

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


a private place of worship

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