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 The defunct satellite eventually crashed back to Earth in 2011. William Akoto, The Conversation, "Hackers could shut down satellites – or turn them into weapons," 12 Feb. 2020 By comparison, the now defunct Alliance of American Football drew 2.9 million viewers for its first game last year. cleveland, "XFL debuts to promising ratings, though Johnny Manziel has doubts about new league," 10 Feb. 2020 Parsons obtained both licenses in February 2018 from the now-defunct national chain Skyline Health Care. Arkansas Online, "Suit takes issue with state veto of licenses," 29 Dec. 2019 These features became popular with the growth of the now-defunct Borders chain, and Barnes & Noble includes them in its stores. Joyce M. Rosenberg,, "Indie booksellers persevere despite Amazon, rising costs," 24 Dec. 2019 These features became popular with the growth of the now-defunct Borders chain, and Barnes & Noble includes them in its stores. Joyce M. Rosenberg, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Independent booksellers persevere despite Amazon, rising costs," 20 Dec. 2019 These features became popular with the growth of the now-defunct Borders chain, and Barnes & Noble includes them in its stores. Washington Post, "Indie booksellers persevere despite Amazon, rising costs," 11 Dec. 2019 The moves come as the first two new Toys R Us stores — one in Houston, the other in Paramus, New Jersey — will open in November as part of a small comeback of the defunct iconic toy chain in the U.S. Anne D'innocenzio,, "Parent of Toys R Us teams up with Target to power online biz," 8 Oct. 2019 Ace Hardware will open Bay Area stores at two locations, one in the East Bay and one in the South Bay, that once were occupied by the now-defunct Orchard Supply Hardware chain, Ace said. George Avalos, The Mercury News, "Ace Hardware will open in East Bay, South Bay old Orchard Supply sites," 8 Aug. 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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Time Traveler for defunct

Time Traveler

The first known use of defunct was in 1599

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Statistics for defunct

Last Updated

22 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Defunct.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for defunct


How to pronounce defunct (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for defunct

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with defunct

Spanish Central: Translation of defunct

Nglish: Translation of defunct for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of defunct for Arabic Speakers

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