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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web While the developer initially thought restoration might be possible, the company later asked the city for permission to demolish it. Eric Roper, Star Tribune, "A historic Minneapolis church is crumbling. Can anyone save it?," 4 Feb. 2021 While city leaders are still seeking creative ideas for the bridge, the state wants to demolish it. Dan Mcgowan,, "A surprising addition to the list of Providence’s most-endangered properties," 27 Jan. 2021 Chase is proposing to demolish the branch to make way for a drive-through restaurant and new bank building. David Garrick, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Nonprofit group deems five historic sites across county “endangered”," 17 Dec. 2020 The dozer driver had been hired to demolish the house to make way for a parking lot, but the historical society was in negotiations with the Smithsonian Institution to save the Colonial building. John Kelly, Washington Post, "This might be Washington’s oldest house, but it came from New England," 28 Nov. 2020 Brady and Bündchen currently have plans to demolish their new Miami home in order to build a new, eco-friendly home; however, there is no timeline on when that will occur. Kelly Corbett, House Beautiful, "Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen's Sprawling Massachusetts Mansion and NYC Apartment Have Both Sold," 6 Jan. 2021 Because of the size of the lot, preservationists had worried that a buyer would demolish the two-story house designed by Texas architect David Reichard Williams. Steve Brown, Dallas News, "Historic Park Cities mansion escapes the wrecking ball," 10 Dec. 2020 Rodgers said there are currently no plans to demolish the building, which is believed to be one of the village’s oldest commercial structures, and repairs are being explored. Jennifer Johnson,, "Cause of Morton Grove apartment fire that killed cats likely electrical: Fire chief," 9 Dec. 2020 The university in 2016 announced plans to demolish all the buildings, including the hotel and Sixth Street office building, to develop a $120 million Athletic and Human Performance Research Center with $40 million from Aurora Health Care Inc. Tom Daykin, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Zoning change wins early OK for 300 apartments -- most of them affordable -- in Milwaukee's Harbor District," 9 Nov. 2020

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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Time Traveler for demolish

Time Traveler

The first known use of demolish was in 1570

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Statistics for demolish

Last Updated

23 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Demolish.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Feb. 2021.

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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
informal : to eat all of (something) quickly


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.

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