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 demolishment (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 The Center Road church closed its doors in September and the property has been sold to Cuyahoga Community College and will be demolished. Sam Boyer, cleveland, "Historical society volunteers save bell for future generations," 30 Nov. 2019 All this rigorous documentation was crucial because once the 69 tons of iron were trucked to Allen’s Alabama base, the Wheeler Building itself was demolished. John Freeman Gill, New York Times, "Restoring Brooklyn’s Queen of Department Stores," 22 Nov. 2019 By 2011, all of its high-rises had been demolished and their inhabitants scattered. Mary Schmich,, "Column: For three decades, Corwin Marbly has run this Chicago food pantry, offering Thanksgiving baskets and abiding by his father’s rule: ‘Anybody who came to his door got something’," 20 Nov. 2019 Further, Shutte at the city of Anchorage said the neighboring J.C. Penney parking garage will likely be demolished, and potentially replaced with another service to attract people to downtown. Aubrey Wieber, Anchorage Daily News, "Nordstrom building to remain vacant for foreseeable future," 13 Nov. 2019 The old buildings would be demolished, Maresco said., "Marshfield voters weigh tax increase for capital projects - The Boston Globe," 7 Nov. 2019 Whitaker Elementary School on Winton Road would be demolished, Noe said. Jeanne Houck,, "Finneytown asks for assist from voters, state for two new schools," 4 Nov. 2019 Thai said the building will be demolished if the original facade cannot be saved. Ben Brazil, Daily Pilot, "Preservationists and developer work to preserve as much of historic Santa Ana building as possible," 23 Oct. 2019 India’s Supreme Court awarded the site of a mosque in the city of Ayodhya that was demolished by Hindu zealots in 1992 to Hindus planning to build a temple to the god Rama. The Economist, "Politics this week," 14 Nov. 2019

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

4 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Demolish.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 6 December 2019.

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More Definitions for demolish


How to pronounce demolish (audio)

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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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).


very cautious or careful

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