an·​ni·​hi·​late | \ ə-ˈnī-ə-ˌlāt How to pronounce annihilate (audio) \
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)

Other Words from annihilate

annihilatory \ ə-​ˈnī-​ə-​lə-​ˌtȯr-​ē How to pronounce annihilate (audio) \ 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 Much of the Azov Battalion, including Mamont’s former platoon, was currently defending Mariupol against a Russian onslaught that threatened to annihilate it. Luke Mogelson, The New Yorker, 2 May 2022 During a congressional hearing last July, Fed Chair Jerome Powell, in effect, said a digital dollar would annihilate private cryptocurrencies, especially stablecoins. Dan Runkevicius, Forbes, 15 Apr. 2022 Fears that Volkswagen would annihilate the entire Golf lineup are all but forsaken, with the 2022 Golf GTI set to begin an all-new generation of the sporty hatchback. Car and Driver, 4 Feb. 2022 Bear in mind, this is still a sport tourer, and numbers like these were, until very recently, reserved for bikes with slick tires and track apexes to annihilate. Peter Jackson, Robb Report, 14 Jan. 2022 Everything was done to annihilate our culture and people. David Kindy, Smithsonian Magazine, 23 Nov. 2021 Faced with mutations, T cells will usually simply ignore them and annihilate their targets all the same. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, 2 Dec. 2021 Joe Jonas also laughed when his wife, Sophie Turner, used her roast moment to annihilate him for his old purity ring and former exes. Carrie Wittmer, Glamour, 24 Nov. 2021 What unleashes the destructive force that can potentially annihilate the cell? William A. Haseltine, Forbes, 5 Oct. 2021 See More

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.

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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Time Traveler for annihilate

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The first known use of annihilate was in 1525

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Last Updated

17 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Annihilate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for annihilate


an·​ni·​hi·​late | \ ə-ˈnī-ə-ˌlāt How to pronounce annihilate (audio) \
annihilated; annihilating

Kids Definition of annihilate

: to destroy completely

Other Words from annihilate

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

More from Merriam-Webster on annihilate

Nglish: Translation of annihilate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of annihilate for Arabic Speakers


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