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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Therefore, it cannot be demolished and is protected by law. Eileen Reslen, Harper's BAZAAR, "What Is Adelaide Cottage? Everything You Need to Know About Harry and Meghan's New Home," 23 July 2018 That’s when it was demolished to make way for a parking lot., "Today: Pruitt’s Swamp Song," 6 July 2018 The building stood until it was demolished in 2013, when the Three Rivers School District opened a new K-12 Educational Campus in Cleves. Justin Reutter,, "Cleves gearing up to celebrate its 200th birthday," 3 July 2018 It was demolished to make way for the Horton Plaza parking garage. Roger Showley,, "Steve Karo, who led the effort to save Balboa Theatre, dies at 75," 21 June 2018 The Cherokee County Historical Society had launched a petition drive to save the building, but it was demolished last week. Brian O'shea, ajc, "Landmark store demolished in Hickory Flat community," 16 June 2018 In 2007, a fire broke out in the vacant Deutsche Bank building near the World Trade Center while it was being demolished. Justin Davidson, Daily Intelligencer, "A Year Has Passed Since the Grenfell Tower Fire. It Could Happen Again Anytime.," 14 June 2018 But the roles were reversed on Saturday (April 28) as they got demolished by the Golden State Warriors in the team's first postseason loss of the year. William Guillory,, "Warriors blast Pelicans in Game 1 after record-breaking first half," 28 Apr. 2018 The 15,000-square foot, state-of-the-art indoor rock-climbing gym will be built this year on the site of a long-vacant and foreclosed medical office building now being demolished. Thomas Jewell,, "Shaker Rocks climbing gym gets conditional use permit from city," 24 Jan. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about demolish

Statistics for demolish

Last Updated

20 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for demolish

The first known use of demolish was in 1570

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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.

Keep scrolling for more

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).


by force of circumstances

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!