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

Newlyweds break up, then meet again as opposing lawyers on an annulment case. Los Angeles Times, "Movies on TV this week Sept. 15, 2019: ‘Alien,’ ‘Aliens’ and more," 13 Sep. 2019 The actor had submitted an application for annulment in late March, just four days after tying the knot with Koike, a makeup artist, in Las Vegas, per court documents obtained by PEOPLE at the time. Ale Russian,, "Nicolas Cage Claims He Convinced Johnny Depp to Become an Actor: 'He Wanted to Be a Musician'," 7 Aug. 2019 On Tuesday, Senior District Deputy Attorney Matt Murphy’s questioning about the matter was cut short when Nayeri grew visibly aggravated and accused Shegerian of lying in court during their annulment proceedings. Julia Sclafani, Daily Pilot, "Prosecution makes closing argument in trial of man accused in Newport Beach kidnapping and torture case," 7 Aug. 2019 The court’s decision came in response to a challenge by Adidas against the 2016 annulment of the three-stripe trademark by the European Union Intellectual Property Office, which was itself sought by Belgian company Shoe Branding Europe BVBA. Sara Germano, WSJ, "Adidas Told Three Stripes Aren’t Enough for a Trademark," 19 June 2019 The politician said his camp was working to prevent another annulment in the event of a second victory. Fox News, "Opposition says 'injustice' will galvanize Istanbul voters," 17 June 2019 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 How does divorce and annulment work in Westeros?) her husband. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Details About the 'Game of Thrones' Season 8 Opening Have Been Revealed," 3 Nov. 2018 Wolsey’s dismissal did not bring the annulment immediately closer. Allan Massie, WSJ, "‘Thomas Cromwell: A Revolutionary Life’ Review: The King’s Fixer," 2 Nov. 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

18 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for annulment

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

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More Definitions for annulment


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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Comments on annulment

What made you want to look up annulment? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to make a temporary encampment

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