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 \ -​li-​shə-​bəl How to pronounce abolishable (audio) \ adjective
abolisher noun
abolishment \ -​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

The ban does not apply to federal court — Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was sentenced to death in 2015 in a federal trial in Massachusetts, which has also abolished the death penalty. Jamie Munks, chicagotribune.com, "Jury to consider whether U. of I. killer Brendt Christensen should die for kidnapping, slaying of Chinese scholar Yingying Zhang," 7 July 2019 These results show that more California voters need to be persuaded to abolish the death penalty. Liz Sanchez, The Mercury News, "Opinion: Death penalty should be abolished in California; decisions of life and death aren’t for us to make," 23 June 2019 Not surprisingly, two of Xi’s signature policies have been to conduct a purge of top officials (in the guise of an anticorruption campaign) and to abolish term limits. Ian Johnson, The New York Review of Books, "China’s ‘Black Week-end’," 17 June 2019 Georgia has put more than 53,000 voter registrations on hold mere weeks before the midterms; Malaysia plans to abolish the death penalty. Stavros Agorakis, Vox, "Vox Sentences: Georgia’s 53,000 pending votes," 12 Oct. 2018 His sentence was changed to life in prison when California abolished the death penalty in 1972. Michael Levenson, BostonGlobe.com, "RFK’s children divided over calls for a fresh investigation of his assassination," 31 May 2018 Her campaign platform calls for abolishing the death penalty, holding police accountable, protecting immigrants and ending mass incarceration. Rachel Swan, San Francisco Chronicle, "Billionaire Soros funding reform-minded district attorney candidates," 9 May 2018 In 1921, Sweden's Parliament voted to abolish the death penalty. azcentral, "AZ Memo: Taylor Swift kicks off 'Reputation' tour tonight in Glendale; charter schools' financial red flags; needle exchange bill dies," 8 May 2018 Campbell’s sentence was revised Wednesday in light of a ruling by the state Supreme Court in 2015 that abolished the death penalty. Nicholas Rondinone, courant.com, "Death Row Inmate Jessie Campbell Resentenced To Life In Prison Without Possibility Of Release," 18 Apr. 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

11 Jul 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

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