an·​nul·​ment | \ ə-ˈnəl-mənt How to pronounce annulment (audio) \

Definition of annulment

1 : the act of annulling something : the state of being annulled
2 : a judicial or ecclesiastical pronouncement declaring a marriage invalid

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Did You Know?

Annulment usually applies to marriage. In some states an annulment may be carried out by a court ("judicial annulment"), but annulment is generally practiced by a church ("ecclesiastic annulment"), and principally the Roman Catholic Church, which traditionally hasn't permitted divorce. The usual acceptable reason for annulment is a "failure to consummate" the marriage by having children. Unlike a marriage that ends in divorce, an annulled marriage is considered never to have existed. Other things can be annulled as well, including a contract (if one party fails to comply with its terms) or an election (if it wasn't carried out properly).

Examples of annulment in a Sentence

an annulment of that hastily conceived marriage can't come too soon
Recent Examples on the Web While Kardashian sought a divorce, Humphries filed back by asking for an annulment, claiming that Kardashian only married him for publicity and ratings. Andrea Wurzburger,, "10 of the Most Shocking Celebrity Splits of the Decade," 31 Dec. 2019 There were approximately 8% fewer divorces and annulments in 2017 compared to 2007, according to the CDC. Erin Jensen, USA TODAY, "Divorce month? January likely to see spike in divorce filings as holidays end," 17 Dec. 2019 The decision could open the door for the annulment of some cases Da Silva is involved in, but not the one that put him behind bars. Washington Post, "AP Explains: ‘Car Wash’ probe faces new challenges," 2 Oct. 2019 The Legislature also established an annulment process for those convicted of possessing up to three-quarters of an ounce of marijuana before 2017, when the state decriminalized the drug in small amounts., "CONCORD, N.H. — New Hampshire lawmakers considered more than a dozen bills related to marijuana this year, but fewer than half of them became law.," 24 Sep. 2019 After seven years of failing to get an annulment, Henry left the Catholic Church. Kathy Berdan, Twin Cities, "‘SIX’ opens Friday at the Ordway. 10 things to know.," 28 Nov. 2019 The divorce, which became finalized in 1978, was the first official split in the immediate family of a reigning monarch since King Henry’s VIII’s annulment. Stephanie Petit,, "The Crown: Inside the Breakdown of Princess Margaret's Marriage — and Affair with a Younger Man," 19 Nov. 2019 Since Cecilia’s annulment, Paramount Chief Kachindamoto, 60, has terminated a total of 2,549 unions and sent the girls back to school. Rania Abouzeid, National Geographic, "Around the world, women are taking charge of their future," 15 Oct. 2019 The decision could open the door for the annulment of some cases Da Silva is involved in, but not the one that put him behind bars. San Diego Union-Tribune, "AP Explains: ‘Car Wash’ probe faces new challenges," 1 Oct. 2019

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for annulment

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The first known use of annulment was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

23 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Annulment.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Feb. 2020.

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an·​nul·​ment | \ ə-ˈnəl-mənt How to pronounce annulment (audio) \

Legal Definition of annulment

1 : the act of annulling : the state of being annulled
2 : a declaration by a court that a marriage is invalid — compare divorce

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