adjective de·funct \ di-ˈfəŋkt , dē- \
|Updated on: 9 Aug 2018

Definition of defunct

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

Examples of defunct in a Sentence

  1. She wrote for the now-defunct newspaper.

  2. a stack of brochures and a few faded placards are all that remain of the defunct organization

Recent Examples of defunct from the Web

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.

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".

Origin and Etymology of defunct

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

Synonym Discussion of 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

DEFUNCT Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of defunct for English Language Learners

  • : no longer existing or being used

DEFUNCT Defined for Kids


adjective de·funct \ di-ˈfəŋkt \

Definition of defunct for Students

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

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