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 Talbert Avenue bridge over the 405 freeway in Fountain Valley will be demolished and rebuilt as part of an ongoing 405 expansion project. Daily Pilot, "Talbert Avenue bridge over 405 Freeway to be demolished starting this weekend," 5 Sep. 2019 The two-building structure will be demolished later in the year as part of The Yard redevelopment project, which will bring apartments, restaurants and retail to the area. Matthew J. Palm,, "Built by friends and embraced by the community, Blue Star’s Venue closes its doors," 2 Sep. 2019 The townhomes, which are vacant and graffiti stained, will be demolished by the flood district and converted into greenspace by the Houston Parks Board. Kaila Contreras, Houston Chronicle, "Lake Houston reaches for full recovery 2 years after Hurricane Harvey," 1 Sep. 2019 Also, an existing surface parking lot would be demolished. Lila Seidman, Glendale News-Press, "Proposed senior facility near La Cañada delayed as it heads for further study," 27 Aug. 2019 To make way for the building, a 16,463 square foot office and industrial building will be demolished. Joseph Geha, The Mercury News, "Milpitas Council approves 40 condos, grants exception for no affordable units," 22 Aug. 2019 The former Plumosa Elementary School in Delray Beach will be demolished for about $2 million and rebuilt as South Intensive Transition School, which will move from Lake Worth Beach, for $4.8 million. Lois K. Solomon,, "Schools to get more portable classrooms in coming years," 21 Aug. 2019 The synagogue, 2789 Oak St., will be demolished in the near future, although no date has been set, according to property owner Scott Goodman, of Farpoint Development. Karen Berkowitz,, "B’nai Torah congregants return to shuttered synagogue in Highland Park for a final goodbye," 1 Aug. 2019 The reduced amount paid to Tom, the balance will be used to move the historical landmark White Spot 1/2 block to X Bar that will be demolished. Jennifer Kovaleski, The Denver Post, "Should neighbors be able to save Tom’s Diner on Colfax Avenue in Denver? Or does the owner have the right to sell?," 31 July 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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Statistics for demolish

Last Updated

11 Sep 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

What made you want to look up demolish? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


formidable, illustrious, or eminent

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