de·mol·ish | \ di-ˈmä-lish \

Definition of demolish 

transitive verb

1a : tear down, raze demolish a building

b : to break to pieces : smash His car was demolished in the accident.

2a : to do away with : destroy a filibuster which would effectively demolish the issueCurrent Biography … a performance so awkward and apathetic it instantly appeared to demolish any chance of restoring her declining career … —Dave Itzkoff

b : to strip of any pretense of merit or credence demolished her debate opponents demolish a stereotype

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Other words from demolish

demolisher noun
demolishment \-lish-mənt \ noun

Examples of demolish in a Sentence

The old factory was demolished to make way for a new parking lot. Tons of explosives were used to demolish the building. The town hopes to restore the old theater rather than have it demolished. The car was demolished in the accident. They demolished the other team 51–7.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The single-screen drive-in opened in 1949, and was closed and subsequently demolished in 1989. Jared Cowan, Los Angeles Magazine, "Every L.A. Filming Location From Grease, 40 Years Later," 15 June 2018 In preparation for development, the church demolished at least three historic houses on the property and had at least four moved to other Boise locations, the last one in 2006. Maria L. La Ganga, idahostatesman, "A Boise church lost a bitter fight to develop this lot. Now it may build housing there," 13 June 2018 In May, North Korea demolished its sole nuclear test site deep in the northeastern mountain in a show of commitment to denuclearization. Washington Post, "Closing North Korea’s vast nuclear program poses challenges," 9 June 2018 The center is scheduled to close at the end of June and demolished in August. Lisa Maria Garza,, "Fundraising for new Winter Park library hits $1.2 million as group takes on cost of $475K auditorium," 1 June 2018 Under the banner of combating terrorism, Egypt began razing the town of Rafah in 2014 and demolished most of the residential buildings nearby except for the southern section to curb underground tunnel smuggling of fighters and weapons. The Christian Science Monitor, "In humanitarian gesture, Egypt keeps Rafah crossing open through Ramadan," 18 May 2018 Carl Duke, with the church's development arm, applied through the city to demolish eight homes, mostly on Udall Street, in April. Lily Altavena, azcentral, "As Mesa temple begins redevelopment, renters in Mormon church-owned homes asked to leave," 11 May 2018 The old terminal was vacated in 2008 and demolished in 2013. Andrew Clark, Indianapolis Star, "New development at old Indianapolis airport site: What we know," 25 Apr. 2018 The joint hosted a number of big shows – the Who, Michael Jackson, Bruce Springsteen and U2 – before getting demolished in 1996. John Petkovic,, "Cleveland rock 'n' roll landmarks that made history: a tour (photos)," 13 Apr. 2018

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

1570, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for demolish

borrowed from Middle French demolir, extended stem demoliss- (with final conformed to earlier English verbs with the same ending, as nourish, perish), borrowed from Latin dēmōlīrī, dēmōlīre "to throw off, pull down, raze," from dē- de- + mōlīrī "to labor to bring about, strive, build, construct." probably derivative of mōlēs "large mass, massive structure, effort, exertion" — more at mole entry 4

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Statistics for demolish

Last Updated

11 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for demolish

The first known use of demolish was in 1570

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More Definitions for demolish



English Language Learners Definition of demolish

: to destroy (a building, bridge, etc.) : to forcefully tear down or take apart (a structure)

: to damage (something) so that it cannot be repaired

: to eat all of (something) quickly


de·mol·ish | \ di-ˈmä-lish \
demolished; demolishing

Kids Definition of demolish

1 : to destroy by breaking apart demolish a building

2 : to ruin completely : shatter He demolished the speed record.

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Comments on demolish

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


the setting in which something occurs

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