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 abolish (audio) \ adjective
abolisher noun
abolishment \ ə-​ˈbä-​lish-​mənt How to pronounce abolish (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 Biden proposal would abolish 1031 exchanges on real-estate profits of more than $500,000. Will Parker, WSJ, "Biden Proposal Would Close Longtime Real-Estate Tax Loophole," 28 Apr. 2021 As Jeremy Pelzer details, Gov. Mike DeWine and state lawmakers have taken no meaningful steps to come up with a new execution method, or alternatively, abolish the death penalty altogether. Andrew J. Tobias, cleveland, "Ohio House committee approves budget plan: Capitol Letter," 21 Apr. 2021 Republican senators asked whether Ms. Clarke supported defunding the police, a slogan and mission embraced by many on the progressive left to cut police budgets or even abolish police departments altogether. New York Times, "Biden’s Choice for Civil Rights Post Has Worked to Defend Voting Rights," 14 Apr. 2021 The other would abolish life without parole for those who committed crimes as juveniles and allow those who have served 20 years or more to petition a judge for release. Washington Post, "Two long-sought bills that would change parole for inmates advance in Maryland," 5 Apr. 2021 Even with an increase in crime, activists have called to reform police or defund police or abolish police altogether. Reid Forgrave, Star Tribune, "In rural Minnesota, where cops and community are familiar, Derek Chauvin trial looks different," 4 Apr. 2021 For the moment, Democrats do not have the votes to abolish the filibuster altogether, since some in their own caucus, like Senator Joe Manchin, Democrat of West Virginia, oppose it. Annie Linskey, Sean Sullivan, BostonGlobe.com, "Pressure grows on Biden to end filibuster," 5 Mar. 2021 A week before that effort, California Sen. Barbara Boxer, a Democrat, quietly proposed a bill to abolish the Electoral College altogether in a not-so-subtle-effort to potentially deny Trump a win months before his inauguration. Joseph Simonson, Washington Examiner, "Liberals have a short memory when it comes to accepting election outcomes," 8 Dec. 2020 Scores of activists, students, public school teachers, medical clinic workers and others have called into recent public meetings in Berkeley, mostly demanding deep cuts to the police or urging leaders to abolish the department altogether. Rachel Swan, SFChronicle.com, "Berkeley City Council passes a budget with $9.2 million cuts to police," 1 July 2020

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 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Abolish.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/abolish. Accessed 17 May. 2021.

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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

Comments on abolish

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