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 Port Authority of Cincinnati, owner of the property, plans to demolish the smokestack. Chris Mayhew,, "Hudepohl smokestack: A soon-to-be demolished icon of Cincinnati German beer history," 14 June 2019 The company plans to demolish those buildings this summer to make way for a 124-unit condo project that will bring more retail and a 600-space parking garage to downtown. Joe Rubino, The Denver Post, "As Castle Rock looks to evolve beyond a bedroom community, the old town dump will be key," 13 June 2019 Along with the changes proposed by the developers, the city plans to demolish a one-story portion of the building that attaches to the main structure. Tom Daykin, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Historic former Schlitz tavern in Riverwest neighborhood to be converted into three condos under new proposal," 12 June 2019 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School plans to demolish the building where 17 people were killed last year. Katie Reilly, Time, "'It’s Not a Museum. It’s Not a Mausoleum.' Columbine High School Could Be Torn Down As Safety Threats Mount," 7 June 2019 The Los Angeles Conservancy, an architectural preservation nonprofit, filed suit for protection of the bank on the site, which Gehry plans to demolish. Lesley M.m. Blume, Town & Country, "Inside Frank Gehry's Overhaul of Garden of Allah, L.A.’s Most Infamous Corner," 25 Feb. 2019 The building was owned by Lake County, which planned to demolish the structure and turn it over to New Chicago for redevelopment. Craig Lyons, Post-Tribune, "Vacant dance hall in New Chicago destroyed by fire, putting plans for development on hold," 13 July 2018 Between 2007 and 2017, the Historic Preservation Commission reviewed 271 homes that owners planned to demolish, according to the city. Karen Berkowitz,, "Highland Park repeals right to landmark homes without owner's consent," 16 May 2018 The church plans to demolish three buildings on its property to make room for an approximately 23,000-square-foot multi-purpose building adjacent to the existing church. Kim Chatelain,, "Catholic Church project expected to heat up Madisonville town hall meeting," 25 Apr. 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.

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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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Statistics for demolish

Last Updated

19 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for demolish

The first known use of demolish was in 1570

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on demolish

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with demolish

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for demolish

Spanish Central: Translation of demolish

Nglish: Translation of demolish for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of demolish for Arabic Speakers

Comments on demolish

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incapable of being surmounted or overcome

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