annihilation

noun

an·​ni·​hi·​la·​tion ə-ˌnī-ə-ˈlā-shən How to pronounce annihilation (audio)
plural annihilations
1
: the state or fact of being completely destroyed or obliterated : the act of annihilating something or the state of being annihilated
The late 1940s and '50s were so pervaded by a general fear of nuclear annihilation that the era was known as the Age of Anxiety.Charles Krauthammer
For a literary culture that fears it is on the brink of total annihilation, we are awfully cavalier about the Great Male Novelists of the last century.Katie Roiphe
… few experts believe that either regime would risk annihilation by actually launching a nuke in anger.Michael Elliott
The Cretaceous Extinction, whatever its cause, was one of the two most awesome annihilations of life in the history of the world.John McPhee
2
physics : the combination of a particle and its antiparticle (such as an electron and a positron) that results in the subsequent total conversion of the particles into energy
Both the creation and annihilation of antimatter have been observed in nuclear accelerators (atom-smashers).Harding E. Smith
The annihilation reactions are the most efficient sources of energy known, for in them the entire mass of both particles is converted into pure energy.George Greenstein

Examples of annihilation in a Sentence

idealists who seek the annihilation of all forms of prejudice
Recent Examples on the Web On the outside, Riley tries to navigate a new world of cliques, external pressures, and the ever-growing sense that anything less than total victory is a complete annihilation of her self-esteem. David Fear, Rolling Stone, 12 June 2024 Goggins’s performance in the flashback scenes, as Cooper Howard listens to his wife drive the world towards annihilation, is staggering. Jack King, Vulture, 12 Apr. 2024 Faced with the likely annihilation of her species, Samira seems barely interested in staying alive at first. Peter Debruge, Variety, 27 June 2024 Some stars might be fueled by the annihilation of dark matter itself. Andrea Gawrylewski, Scientific American, 30 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for annihilation 

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

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1526, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of annihilation was circa 1526

Dictionary Entries Near annihilation

Cite this Entry

“Annihilation.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/annihilation. Accessed 20 Jul. 2024.

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