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 Only part of the site will be demolished while the building with the clock tower, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, will remain for the U.S. Playing Card Redevelopment. Joe Simon,, "Watch the demolition of the U.S. Playing Card Co. building in Norwood," 20 May 2020 The old high school will soon be demolished to make way for landscaping and parking lots to serve a new, $71.3 million high school now in final stages of construction just to the north of the old one. Steven Litt, cleveland, "Berea City School District should show respect for historic ‘Tree of Knowledge’’ sculpture," 26 Apr. 2020 The Ramsay McCormack Building in downtown Ensley, slated for redevelop and renovation, will be demolished and replaced with a 4-story structure. Roy S. Johnson |, al, "Johnson: With Ramsay McCormack 2.0 finally happening, will businesses come to west Birmingham?," 26 Apr. 2020 The Dillon Hall apartments, still operating and sponsored by the ministry of the Congregation of St. Joseph, will not be demolished, Dillon Hall property manager Michele McCurdie told the newspaper in October. Washington Post, "Sisters of St. Joseph motherhouse demolished in Kalamazoo," 2 Mar. 2020 Not long after the show closes, all but the facade of the Ocean Terrace will be demolished. Jordan Levin, New York Times, "You Can’t Check In, But You Can Watch," 17 Feb. 2020 And in late spring or summer, it will be demolished as part of the airport's 20-year plan for growth. Melissa Yeager, azcentral, "Sky Harbor Terminal 2 milestones through the years," 5 Feb. 2020 The Quigley building will be demolished after the opening of the new facility, the name of which has yet to be determined. John Laidler,, "Atop Powder Horn Hill in Chelsea, a new veterans’ home," 31 Jan. 2020 That building will be demolished at the end of the shooting suspect's trial, which starts this summer, the affiliate reported. Madeline Holcombe, CNN, "New Stoneman Douglas High School building scheduled to open in August," 17 Jan. 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

4 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Demolish.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Jun. 2020.

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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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