annihilate

verb
an·​ni·​hi·​late | \ə-ˈnī-ə-ˌlāt \
annihilated; annihilating

Definition of annihilate 

transitive verb

1a : to cause to cease to exist : to do away with entirely so that nothing remains

b : to destroy a considerable part of Bombs annihilated the city. The enemy troops were annihilated.

c : to defeat overwhelmingly : rout annihilated the visitors 56–0

2a : to cause to be of no effect : nullify a right to freedom that cannot be annihilated

b : to destroy the substance or force of Fear can annihilate one's confidence.

3 : to regard as of no consequence

4 : to cause (something, such as a particle and its antiparticle) to vanish or cease to exist by coming together and changing into other forms of energy (such as photons) matter and antimatter annihilate each other

intransitive verb

of a particle and its antiparticle : to vanish or cease to exist by coming together and changing into other forms of energy (such as photons)

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Other Words from annihilate

annihilation \ə-​ˌnī-​ə-​ˈlā-​shən \ noun
annihilator \-​ˌlā-​tər \ noun
annihilatory \-​ˈnī-​ə-​lə-​ˌtȯr-​ē \ adjective

Examples of annihilate in a Sentence

The enemy troops were annihilated. He annihilated his opponent in the last election.

Recent Examples on the Web

Further Reading Ars on your lunch break: What happens when China curb-stomps your startup Today’s episode starts in the greener pastures that Chris’ startup, 3DR, found after Chinese behemoth DJI annihilated his drone manufacturing business. Rob Reid, Ars Technica, "Ars on your lunch break: How to survive competing with China," 25 Oct. 2018 Even more exciting, the bright gamma-ray glow fit quite well to dark matter being annihilated into a pair of matter/antimatter quarks. Chris Lee, Ars Technica, "Gamma ray evidence for dark matter outshone by a flock of pulsars," 10 Aug. 2018 From a strategic entertainment standpoint, pro football annihilates college football. Andy Benoit, SI.com, "NFL and College Football Are Not the Same Game," 11 July 2018 Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez isn’t the only socialist who annihilated a Democratic Party boss this year. Chris Brennan, Philly.com, "The left-wing uprising that led to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's victory in N.Y.? It happened first in Pa. | Clout," 6 July 2018 This is a hilarious comedy that spoofs all those bold Victorian adventurers who ravaged foreign lands and annihilated indigenous cultures in the name of science. Lake County News-Sun, "Calendar: Reduce stress by coloring in North Chicago," 21 May 2018 History demonstrates that the black people in this country must either be assimilated or annihilated. Fred Niedner, Post-Tribune, "Niedner: Recommitting to our founding values crucial to future," 6 July 2018 The antiproton then floats out of the trap and into a surrounding array of particle detectors, in which it is annihilated and produces a subatomic blast. Adrian Cho, Science | AAAS, "Atoms and antiatoms haven’t crashed Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity—yet," 4 Apr. 2018 The antimatter should have annihilated all the regular matter, leaving nothing left over. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "New Experiment Hints at Why the Universe Is Made of Something Rather Than Nothing," 8 Aug. 2016

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

1525, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 2a

History and Etymology for annihilate

Late Latin annihilatus, past participle of annihilare to reduce to nothing, from Latin ad- + nihil nothing — more at nil

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Last Updated

11 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for annihilate

The first known use of annihilate was in 1525

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More Definitions for annihilate

annihilate

verb

English Language Learners Definition of annihilate

: to destroy (something or someone) completely

: to defeat (someone) completely

annihilate

verb
an·​ni·​hi·​late | \ə-ˈnī-ə-ˌlāt \
annihilated; annihilating

Kids Definition of annihilate

: to destroy completely

Other Words from annihilate

annihilation \-​ˌnī-​ə-​ˈlā-​shən \ noun

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