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 The Society for Research on Biological Rhythms published a study last year calling for abolishing daylight-saving time. Sumathi Reddy, WSJ, "Here’s Why Health Experts Want to Stop Daylight-Saving Time," 4 Mar. 2020 Leaders of the bail bond industry, which blocked the new law and kept the bail system in place by qualifying a referendum for the November ballot, say the reversal undermines the case for abolishing bail. Bob Egelko, SFChronicle.com, "New snag in effort to abolish cash bail: ‘risk assessment tools’ called racially biased," 24 Feb. 2020 Some of those calling for abolishing Section 230 should also consider unintended consequences. Jeff John Roberts, Fortune, "Big Tech’s Favorite Legal Shield Is in Danger," 20 Nov. 2019 Friday’s agreement coincided with China’s announcement of a timetable to carry out a 2017 promise to abolish limits on foreign ownership of some finance businesses, starting with futures trading firms on Jan. 1. Joe Mcdonald, San Diego Union-Tribune, "China tempers hopes about US tariff truce," 15 Oct. 2019 Get our daily newsletter Many writers pressed for abolishing capitalism, while others argued that the free market would solve the problem. The Economist, "A bevy of ideas to respond to climate change," 18 Sep. 2019 Way back in the old millennium, meaning 1996, the Chicago Reader’s Cate Plys argued for abolishing the event. Mary Schmich, chicagotribune.com, "Column: Don’t love the Air and Water Show? It’s not just you.," 15 Aug. 2019 In the House, a bipartisan group of representatives filed a joint resolution to abolish the ability-to-pay rule. Anjali Tsui, ProPublica, "How Payday Lenders Spent $1 Million at a Trump Resort — and Cashed In," 5 June 2019 Lawmakers in other states cited the same motivation as Steele, but their efforts to abolish the privilege have faltered in the face of opposition from religious institutions. Arizona Republic, "Bisbee man confesses he's molesting his daughter. Church tells bishop not to report abuse to authorities," 21 Apr. 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

29 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Abolish.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/abolish. Accessed 5 Jun. 2020.

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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

Legal Definition of abolish

: to end the observance or effect of : annul

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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

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