de·​funct | \di-ˈfəŋkt, 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

The 31-year-old from Upper Darby enrolled at ITT Technical Institute, a now-defunct for-profit college that was accused of pushing students into risky loans, in 2012 hoping to get training for a job in computer science. Anna Orso,, "These are the students most crushed by the debt crisis," 1 June 2018 The eldest three launched a now-defunct makeup line called Khroma back in 2012, as well as a line of sunless tanners and hair products under the Kardashian Beauty label. Jenna Rosenstein, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kris Jenner Is Releasing Her Own Kylie Cosmetics Collection," 8 May 2018 The judges mostly comprised executives from consulting firms or now-defunct venture capital funds. Rob Wile, miamiherald, "Where do we go from here? Miami's tech leaders say city needs next startup vision | Miami Herald," 22 Apr. 2018 Pence's announcement comes on the heels of the April 1 crash of China's defunct Tiangong-1 space station and the April 2 launch of a novel space-junk-cleanup experiment called RemoveDebris, which will test several ways to clean up orbital debris. Tariq Malik,, "National Space Council Will Deliver Space-Junk Plan to Trump, VP Pence Says," 16 Apr. 2018 That could be a problem if that original publisher is defunct, uncooperative, or simply hasn't held on to that code. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "Researchers can now legally restore “abandoned” online game servers," 29 Oct. 2018 The missiles had a top speed of Mach 1.6, a range of 388 miles, and used the now defunct Legenda satellite targeting system to home in on their aircraft carrier targets. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The True Story of the Russian Kursk Submarine Disaster," 28 Sep. 2018 The website Abandoned America documents defunct and decaying sites across the USA. USA TODAY, "Abandoned America: Churches in sad states of decay," 1 May 2018 In 2000 France fined Yahoo for not removing Nazi memorabilia from a now-defunct auction site. Mark Epstein, WSJ, "How to Keep Online Speech Free," 29 Apr. 2018

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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Statistics for defunct

Last Updated

13 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for defunct

The first known use of defunct was in 1599

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More Definitions for defunct



English Language Learners Definition of defunct

: 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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More from Merriam-Webster on defunct

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with defunct

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for defunct

Spanish Central: Translation of defunct

Nglish: Translation of defunct for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of defunct for Arabic Speakers

Comments on defunct

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


a knickknack or trinket

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