annihilate

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

Essential Meaning of annihilate

1 : to destroy (something or someone) completely Bombs annihilated the city. The enemy troops were annihilated.
2 : to defeat (someone) completely He annihilated his opponent in the last election.

Full 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 What unleashes the destructive force that can potentially annihilate the cell? William A. Haseltine, Forbes, 5 Oct. 2021 In Dreher’s view, the speed and extremity of this reaction showed how ready Western liberals were to try to annihilate rather than engage with traditional culture. The New Yorker, 13 Sep. 2021 After a brief period of massive annihilation, creating even more photons, the excess electrons annihilate away with the positrons. Ethan Siegel, Forbes, 2 Sep. 2021 Finally, when the Universe is now milliseconds old, protons and neutrons annihilate away with anti-protons and anti-neutrons. Ethan Siegel, Forbes, 2 Sep. 2021 At the sound of the sixth trumpet, two hundred million horsemen annihilate a third of mankind. Elizabeth Kolbert, The New Yorker, 9 Aug. 2021 Each cycle ends or begins when two bands of magnetism, migrating from opposite, high latitudes of the sun, meet at the equator and annihilate each other. New York Times, 28 May 2021 As for dark matter, certain models predict that dark matter particles can annihilate one another—a process that could also create antiparticles. Leto Sapunar, Scientific American, 7 June 2021 Some of his best stories are about Roman executioners, submariners during World War II, and a Minoan father hanging out on the beach with his son in Crete in 1600 BC as a tsunami is about to annihilate them. Jeff Goodell, Rolling Stone, 26 May 2021

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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Time Traveler for annihilate

Time Traveler

The first known use of annihilate was in 1525

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Dictionary Entries Near annihilate

annihilable

annihilate

annihilation

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Statistics for annihilate

Last Updated

1 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Annihilate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/annihilate. Accessed 30 Nov. 2021.

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More Definitions for annihilate

annihilate

verb
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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