ab·​o·​li·​tion | \ ˌa-bə-ˈli-shᵊn How to pronounce abolition (audio) \

Definition of abolition

1 : the act of officially ending or stopping something : the act of abolishing something abolition of the death penalty
2 : the abolishing of slavery a proponent of abolition

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Other Words from abolition

abolitionary \ ˌa-​bə-​ˈli-​shə-​ˌner-​ē How to pronounce abolitionary (audio) , -​ˌne-​rē \ adjective

Examples of abolition in a Sentence

the abolition of a law calls for the abolition of the death penalty
Recent Examples on the Web DuVernay’s 13th is a powerful dissection of race, class, law, and power in the years following slavery’s abolition. Jason Herbert, Smithsonian Magazine, "What Were the Best History Movies of the Decade?," 31 Dec. 2019 Admittedly, in an essay that covered several centuries and ranged from the personal to the historical, she did not set out to explore in full his continually shifting ideas about abolition and the rights of black Americans. New York Times, "Letter to the Editor: Historians Critique The 1619 Project, and We Respond," 21 Dec. 2019 Pressley’s decision was influenced by meeting with such advocates as Michael Cox, policy director of Black and Pink Boston, a prison abolition group that focuses on people who are LGBTQ or HIV-positive. BostonGlobe.com, "Sex work or sexual abuse? US Representative Pressley, activists debate decriminalizing prostitution - The Boston Globe," 17 Dec. 2019 In Pennsylvania, the only northeastern state that still allows convicts to be put to death, an abolition bill was vetoed by the state's governor. Christina Maxouris, CNN, "Use of death penalty in US this year was 'near historic lows,' report says," 17 Dec. 2019 To his credit, Abt rejects the most extreme progressive thinking, which views the entire criminal-justice system as irredeemably racist and calls for its abolition. Barry Latzer, National Review, "The Need to Discuss Black-on-Black Crime," 5 Dec. 2019 Bernie Sanders announced his immigration platform on Thursday, becoming the first and only 2020 Democratic candidate to call for the abolition of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection. Emma Specter, Vogue, "Bernie Sanders Is the Most Progressive Politician in the 2020 Race. Why Aren’t More People Talking About Him?," 8 Nov. 2019 Both demanded the abolition of talaq-i-biddat, and both welcomed the court ruling that invalidated it. Justin Jones, Quartz India, "India’s triple talaq law has divided even those who oppose the practice," 15 Sep. 2019 The president has no formal role in eliminating the filibuster, but without a Democratic president at least arguing forcefully for its abolition, the odds of the Senate votes being there are nil. Dylan Matthews, Vox, "The presidential debates wasted too much time talking about stuff only Congress can do," 1 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'abolition.' 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 abolition

1529, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for abolition

borrowed from Middle French & Latin; Middle French abolition, borrowed from Latin abolitiōn-, abolitiō, from aboli-, variant stem of abolēre "to abolish" + -tiōn-, -tiō, suffix of action nouns

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Time Traveler for abolition

Time Traveler

The first known use of abolition was in 1529

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Statistics for abolition

Last Updated

11 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Abolition.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/abolition. Accessed 23 January 2020.

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More Definitions for abolition


ab·​o·​li·​tion | \ ˌa-bə-ˈli-shən How to pronounce abolition (audio) \

Kids Definition of abolition

: a complete elimination of the abolition of war

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Comments on abolition

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


out of the ordinary or unreasonable

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