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

These 455 new apartments are part of the massive Rea Farms mixed-use development on Providence Road, just south of Interstate 485, on the site of a defunct golf course. Ely Portillo, charlotteobserver, "Studio apartments start at $1,135, and that's the cheapest at new Charlotte buildings," 4 June 2018 Residents Against Flooding also succeeded in stirring a public outcry in recent months over a homebuilder’s plan to build 900 houses on a defunct golf course in a west Houston floodplain. Mike Morris, Houston Chronicle, "5th Circuit upholds dismissal of flooding activists’ lawsuit against Houston," 22 May 2018 The above video shows a CV-22 from Cannon Air Force Base flying over the valleys of New Mexico before linking up with a KC-10 Extender aerial refueling tanker, a military version of the now defunct DC-10 jetliner. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Watch The Harrowing Way A Osprey Refuels in Midair," 13 Mar. 2019 They were initially included in sealed court documents for an American lawsuit between Facebook and defunct app developer Six4Three, which created an app for finding bikini pictures on Facebook. Adi Robertson, The Verge, "Mark Zuckerberg personally approved cutting off Vine’s friend-finding feature," 5 Dec. 2018 Two of the private equity firms that used to own the defunct toy store have allocated $20 million to a severance fund that will be distributed in the coming months. Chavie Lieber, Vox, "Thousands of Toys R Us workers are getting severance, following months of protests," 21 Nov. 2018 Chobani founder and CEO Hamdi Ulukaya took a defunct Upstate New York factory and a style of yogurt foreign to most Americans and transformed them in just a decade into a grocery industry empire with annual sales north of $1.5 billion. Jason Del Rey, Recode, "Chobani CEO Hamdi Ulukaya and Square CFO Sarah Friar are coming to Code Commerce," 16 Aug. 2018 Ethiopia is one of just seven African countries cleared for direct flights to the U. S.—a connection that harkens back to the airline’s founding in 1945 as a joint venture with the now-defunct Trans World Airlines, or TWA. Alexandra Wexler, WSJ, "This African Airline Wants to Be the New Emirates," 8 Mar. 2018 Getty Images When future scholars write the definitive history of the internet, there will an entire chapter dedicated to The Tig, the most newsworthy defunct website of all time. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Meghan Markle Reveals the Adorable Nickname Her Mom, Doria Ragland, Has Called Her Since She Was a Kid," 3 Feb. 2019

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

19 Apr 2019

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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

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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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).


an act or instance of returning to life

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