an·nul·ment | \ ə-ˈnəl-mənt \

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

Within months, Bharti hoped, her annulment would be granted. Author: Shashank Bengali, Anchorage Daily News, "In India, ‘child marriage is like a disease’," 24 June 2018 Topper and the Real Housewives of New York City star were childhood sweethearts who eloped at age 18 before their families forced them to get an annulment. Maria Pasquini,, "Tinsley Mortimer’s Ex-Husband Topper Marries Shoe Designer Tabitha Simmons in New York City," 11 June 2018 Eleanor, who still wanted an annulment (or maybe a widowhood), travelled in her own ship with her own retinue. Anne Thériault, Longreads, "Queens of Infamy: Eleanor of Aquitaine," 4 Apr. 2018 Henry, never one to be deterred easily, followed up his request for an annulment with an inquiry into getting a papal dispensation for bigamy which, unsurprisingly, the Pope was not super enthused about either. Anne Thériault, Longreads, "Queens of Infamy: Anne Boleyn," 25 May 2018 The annulment of that order was announced in a court statement Tuesday night after Gayoom issued a state of emergency that restricted citizens’ rights and was internationally condemned. Washington Post, "World Digest: Feb. 6, 2018," 6 Feb. 2018 Catholicism itself, especially in America, hands out annulments that operate as de facto divorces like confetti. Andrew Sullivan, Daily Intelligencer, "Pope Francis Isn’t Catholicism’s Trump," 20 Apr. 2018 In the weeks leading up to Tuesday’s vote, another IOC disciplinary commission had sanctioned more than 20 Russian athletes for doping in Sochi, leading to the annulment of 11 medals and knocking Russia from its perch atop the 2014 medals table. Joshua Robinson, WSJ, "Russia Barred From 2018 Winter Olympics Due to Doping," 6 Dec. 2017 The annulment of the election result was a rare win for supporters of Odinga, who brought the case to the Supreme Court. Joe Sterling, CNN, "Kenya sets presidential election rerun for October 17," 4 Sep. 2017

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

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an·nul·ment | \ ə-ˈnəl-mənt \

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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