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

Bharti convinced her parents to support annulments. Shashank Bengali,, "An Indian activist fights in court to help child brides and grooms win their lives back," 18 June 2018 Bharti convinced her parents to support annulments. Author: Shashank Bengali, Anchorage Daily News, "In India, ‘child marriage is like a disease’," 24 June 2018 Some senators, such as majority leader Tito Sotto III, suggest that making annulment a more streamlined, accessible process would be better than legalizing divorce. James Hookway, WSJ, "A #MeToo Divorce Debate in the Philippines," 27 Apr. 2018 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

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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Statistics for annulment

Last Updated

13 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for annulment

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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