ab·​o·​li·​tion ˌa-bə-ˈli-shᵊn How to pronounce abolition (audio)
: the act of officially ending or stopping something : the act of abolishing something
abolition of the death penalty
: the act of officially ending slavery
a proponent of abolition
abolitionary 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 For Richie Reseda, abolition has unfolded in real time through music. Abigail Glasgow, Harper's BAZAAR, 17 Aug. 2023 What if safety is achieved not by violent organs of the state but through their abolition? WIRED, 9 Aug. 2023 The decision would serve as the basis for Massachusetts’ abolition of slavery on constitutional grounds, several decades before the 13th Amendment abolished slavery in the United States in 1865. Sarah Raza, BostonGlobe.com, 8 July 2023 Gone with the abolition of divisions would be annual meetings with Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Arkansas. Michael Casagrande | McAsagrande@al.com, al, 15 June 2023 So that area has always been a part of the complicated legacy of the abolition movement. Kaitlyn Greenidge, Harper's BAZAAR, 14 July 2023 But enslaved people who advocated for abolition and members of native communities trying to recover or retain their sovereignty also saw themselves as patriots, said Nathaniel Sheidley, president and CEO of Revolutionary Spaces in Boston. Gary Fields, Margery Beck and Rebecca Boone, Anchorage Daily News, 4 July 2023 While calls for reparations in America date to slavery’s abolition in the 1860s, in 1989 Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., introduced what would become H.R. 40 to study slavery, its effects and appropriate remedies. NBC News, 29 June 2023 Protesters display signs calling for the abolition of Section 112 in Bangkok, Jan. 26, 2023. Time, 21 July 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'abolition.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1529, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of abolition was in 1529

Dictionary Entries Near abolition

Cite this Entry

“Abolition.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/abolition. Accessed 23 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


ab·​o·​li·​tion ˌab-ə-ˈlish-ən How to pronounce abolition (audio)
: the act of abolishing : the state of being abolished
: the abolishing of slavery
abolitionary adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on abolition

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!