annihilate

verb
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)

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Other Words from annihilate

annihilatory \ -​ˈnī-​ə-​lə-​ˌtȯr-​ē How to pronounce annihilatory (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

Built by Boeing, the four-engine bomber was the United States’ primary weapon of destruction in the air campaign to annihilate cities and bring Nazi Germany to its knees. Chuck Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "'Cold Blue' Shows the B-17 Bomber Like You've Never Seen It Before," 16 May 2019 That's because packaging the charm quark in the baryon and anticharm quark in the meson separates them, keeping them from annihilating each other. Adrian Cho, Science | AAAS, "Exotic particles called pentaquarks may be less weird than previously thought," 5 June 2019 Chapter by chapter, Rovelli shows how modern physics has annihilated common understandings of time. Alan Lightman, New York Times, "Benedict Cumberbatch Meets Albert Einstein in Carlo Rovelli’s New Audiobook," 14 May 2018 Hand sanitizers often contain 70 percent or more isopropanol or ethanol, which usually annihilates bacteria. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Hospital superbugs are evolving to survive hand sanitizers," 5 Aug. 2018 Damage to the carbon fiber liner then propagated and caused it to burst, starting a chain reaction that annihilated the rocket and its payload. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "SpaceX and NASA Reach Agreement on Astronaut Safety," 20 Aug. 2018 In other words, anything that falls into a black hole gets annihilated, leaving no external trace of its existence. Frank Wilczek, WSJ, "Black Holes May Have ‘Hair’ That We Can See," 3 Jan. 2019 These include any expression of pride or religious identity by members of the Muslim Uighur community, or support for that community, as Beijing annihilates its culture. Crispin Sartwell, WSJ, "What’s Worse Than Facebook?," 6 Jan. 2019 Which is to say, the grim, yet perversely fascinating possibility that our technological creations might just annihilate us. Rob Reid, Ars Technica, "Ars on your lunch break: Transforming citizens into scientists with satellites," 2 Nov. 2018

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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Statistics for annihilate

Last Updated

26 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

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 How to pronounce annihilate (audio) \
annihilated; annihilating

Kids Definition of annihilate

: to destroy completely

Other Words from annihilate

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

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Comments on annihilate

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