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

transitive verb

: tear down, raze
demolish a building
: to break to pieces : smash
His car was demolished in the accident.
: 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
: to strip of any pretense of merit or credence
demolished her debate opponents
demolish a stereotype
demolisher noun
demolishment 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 Then, in 2003, a complex of bars and shops on a plot of land in downtown Bangkok was demolished by hundreds of men early one morning. Sui-Lee Wee, New York Times, 17 Nov. 2023 The old museum was housed in a not-so-attractive customs warehouse, demolished as part of the Galataport rehabilitation. Jacqui Gifford, Travel + Leisure, 16 Nov. 2023 Although the above-ground area of the tomb was demolished long ago, the burial chamber is richly decorated with different texts and artwork. Julia Binswanger, Smithsonian Magazine, 14 Nov. 2023 It was demolished in 1991 and eventually replaced with the Embarcadero boulevard and streetcar. Benjamin Schneider, Los Angeles Times, 13 Nov. 2023 More than 2,300 others are believed to have been buried by strikes that in some cases have demolished entire city blocks. Democrat-Gazette Staff From Wire Reports,, 10 Nov. 2023 But to make way for the new residence building, most of the Richmond and South Seas hotels will be demolished, leaving just their facades, a plan that some preservationists have criticized. Kathryn Romeyn, The Hollywood Reporter, 11 Nov. 2023 For the scene where Elizabeth demolishes the kitchen and rebuilds it into a laboratory, Gordon-Crozier outfitted Larsen in utilitarian jeans. Fawnia Soo Hoo,, 9 Nov. 2023 During the Great Depression, many of them fell into disrepair or were demolished entirely. Elise Taylor, Vogue, 6 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'demolish.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1570, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of demolish was in 1570

Dictionary Entries Near demolish

Cite this Entry

“Demolish.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


de·​mol·​ish di-ˈmäl-ish How to pronounce demolish (audio)
: to break to pieces : smash 2 : to do away with : put an end to
demolisher noun
demolishment noun

More from Merriam-Webster on demolish

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