de·​funct | \ di-ˈfəŋkt How to pronounce defunct (audio) , dē- \

Definition of defunct

: no longer living, existing, or functioning wrote for a magazine that is now defunct a defunct railroad

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Choose the Right Synonym for defunct

dead, defunct, deceased, departed, late mean devoid of life. dead applies literally to what is deprived of vital force but is used figuratively of anything that has lost any attribute (such as energy, activity, radiance) suggesting life. a dead, listless performance defunct stresses cessation of active existence or operation. a defunct television series deceased, departed, and late apply to persons who have died recently. deceased is the preferred term in legal use. the estate of the deceased departed is used usually as a euphemism. our departed sister late is used especially with reference to a person in a specific relation or status. the company's late president

Did You Know?

If you know that de- often means "the opposite of", it's easy to guess the meaning of defunct. Shakespeare seems to have been the first writer to use this adjective, in Henry V. Defunct American political parties include the Greenback Party, the Readjuster Party, and the Nullifier Party. Defunct Academy Awards categories include Best Dance Direction and Best Assistant Director. Defunct U.S. auto models include the Dudly Bug, the LuLu, the Hupmobile, the Gas-au-lec, and the Nu-Klea Starlite. But to speak of a person as defunct would sound disrespectful—which is how it sounds in e. e. cummings's famous poem "Buffalo Bill's defunct".

Examples of defunct in a Sentence

She wrote for the now-defunct newspaper. a stack of brochures and a few faded placards are all that remain of the defunct organization
Recent Examples on the Web Casanega, an All-America halfback at Santa Clara when the now-defunct program was a national power, has spent most of his life juking and stiff-arming Father Time. Eric Branch, San Francisco Chronicle, "The last living original 49er: Ken Casanega's remarkable life reaches 100," 13 Mar. 2021 The women and their mother toil long hours at the Shady Rest, a nursing home next to the defunct train station, where the lack of basic facilities necessitates bathing in an old water tank. Jay Martel, The New Yorker, "Rebooted," 23 Nov. 2020 Last year, former officers Kenneth Betts and Brandon Wood went to prison for abusing minors in the now-defunct program. Matthew Glowicki, The Courier-Journal, "Third LMPD officer pleads guilty to sexual abuse of minor in Explorer program," 16 Nov. 2020 The grant, though, expires in 2022, prompting local officials to scramble to find an alternative to the defunct $2.1 billion I-10 Mobile River Bridge and Bayway project. al, "‘10% of traffic count, 100% of cost’: Truckers fret over Alabama toll plan for I-10," 26 Mar. 2021 Capitalism always finds a bigger shark, so Cloud 9 wound up just another defunct subsidiary of Zephra, a smiling tech godcorp tracking employees with a super-fun app. Darren Franich,, "The lovely Superstore series finale found the silver lining in a dark Cloud 9: Review," 26 Mar. 2021 Fox, formerly with the Los Angeles Lakers, founded a now-defunct e-sports organization called Echo Fox. Mike Freeman, San Diego Union-Tribune, "San Diego video game startup pulls in $7.5 million in venture capital," 24 Mar. 2021 Crews pull down the face of what was a Shopko as the now-defunct Plum Tree shopping center is demolished to make way for a new development on Tuesday, March 23, 2021. The Salt Lake Tribune, "Carousel Ice Cream Parlor, Movies 8 are gone as Provo razes old favorites for new development," 23 Mar. 2021 More junk has been scattered by recent anti-satellite weapons tests, and, in 2009, by the first collision between an operational spacecraft and a defunct one. Tim Fernholz, Quartz, "Robot garbage hunters are coming to clean up space," 23 Mar. 2021

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

1599, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for defunct

Latin defunctus, from past participle of defungi to finish, die, from de- + fungi to perform — more at function

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Time Traveler for defunct

Time Traveler

The first known use of defunct was in 1599

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Statistics for defunct

Last Updated

12 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Defunct.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for defunct



English Language Learners Definition of defunct

formal : no longer existing or being used


de·​funct | \ di-ˈfəŋkt \

Kids Definition of defunct

: no longer existing or being used The old factory was defunct.

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