de·​mol·​ish | \ di-ˈmä-lish How to pronounce demolish (audio) \
demolished; demolishing; demolishes

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

Other Words from demolish

demolisher noun
demolishment \ di-​ˈmä-​lish-​mənt How to pronounce demolish (audio) \ 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.
Recent Examples on the Web And, even if the council follows the recommendation, UWM could then seek commission approval to demolish the building. Tom Daykin, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 4 Apr. 2022 The former Giant Eagle location has attracted interest from developers looking to demolish the building for multi-family apartments or convert the space into a self-storage operation. John Benson, cleveland, 9 Feb. 2022 Dayton’s zoning appeals board on Tuesday approved the city’s request to demolish the building where the state legends Wilbur and Orville Wright opened their first successful bicycle business. New York Times, 28 Nov. 2021 One option would be to move town offices into the 1928 building and then demolish the current town hall, which was built in 1968. Don Stacom, Hartford Courant, 27 Apr. 2022 Please ask Mr Iqbal and his counterparts in the other two MCDs to go ahead and demolish 75% of Delhi. Manavi Kapur, Quartz, 22 Apr. 2022 Mosaku extends her recent hot streak as the federal attorney hoping to cajole the BPD into a consent decree before the 2016 presidential election, the results of which stand to either fortify or demolish police reform efforts. Joshua Alston, Variety, 22 Apr. 2022 The mayor blames Hastings for not delivering on a promise to have $15 million earmarked in the state’s Rebuild Illinois capital program to demolish buildings and remove contaminants from the property. Mike Nolan,, 11 Feb. 2022 The town government stepped in to acquire the property and demolish the space as an investment: Ideally, the new space would increase property tax revenue. New York Times, 18 Jan. 2022 See More

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.

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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The first known use of demolish was in 1570

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Last Updated

18 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Demolish.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for demolish


de·​mol·​ish | \ di-ˈmä-lish How to pronounce demolish (audio) \
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.

More from Merriam-Webster on demolish

Nglish: Translation of demolish for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of demolish for Arabic Speakers


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