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 demolish (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 army has plans to demolish the silos with equipment that crushes concrete and rebar, Durand said. Fox News, "Beirut silos at heart of debate about remembering port blast," 10 Dec. 2020 Former Mayor Phil Hardberger has added his voice to those of preservationists opposing any plans to demolish the 1921 Woolworth Building, 1923 Palace Building and 1882 Crockett Building for development of an Alamo museum. Scott Huddleston,, "Alamo reports support preserving San Antonio’s Woolworth building and restoring lunch counter central to civil rights history," 7 Dec. 2020 Plans to demolish and rebuild the central fire station in Olde Towne Slidell are moving forward, with the firefighters on site moving to temporary quarters in January and the building likely coming down soon thereafter. Andrew Canulette,, "Demolition of Olde Towne Slidell fire station could begin in January," 26 Nov. 2020 Additionally, Prosper Portland will need to pay millions more to set up the site for development, including $38.6 million to demolish and relocate the USPS building. oregonlive, "Portland strives to deliver on promise of equitable development with Broadway Corridor project," 21 Oct. 2020 The Port came under scrutiny earlier this year for its decision to choose a general contractor to demolish and redevelop the old Millennium hotel site without requiring competitive bidding. Randy Tucker, The Enquirer, "Port seeking new vice president of economic equity to improve its diversity and inclusion efforts," 16 Sep. 2020 Greenfield Village became aware of the building 10 years ago as the city was preparing to demolish it. Nisa Khan, Detroit Free Press, "Greenfield Village brings the story of historic Detroit markets to life," 20 Dec. 2020 Residents and astronomers had called on the foundation to repair the telescope rather than demolish it. Maria Cramer New York Times, Star Tribune, "Arecibo telescope in Puerto Rico collapses," 1 Dec. 2020 Any plan and timeline to demolish Crosley is tentative and depends on the timelines of two other projects underway on campus, according to John Seibert, the associate vice president for UC's office of Planning+Design+Construction (P+D+C). Segann March, The Enquirer, "University of Cincinnati has tentative timeline for Crosley Tower demolition," 27 Oct. 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

6 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Demolish.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jan. 2021.

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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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