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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web Nazi leader Adolf Hitler wanted to demolish the landmarks of Paris as World War II neared an end – a fate that was only avoided because his soldiers refused to carry out the orders. David J. Wasserstein, The Conversation, "Trump’s Twitter threat to destroy Iran’s cultural sites is a historic mistake," 7 Jan. 2020 The cost to demolish Gruening is estimated at around $7 million. Matt Tunseth, Anchorage Daily News, "Gruening Middle School walk-through offers insight into post-quake rebuilding plan," 25 Dec. 2019 The property was located one block over from the home it was actually contracted to demolish. USA TODAY, "Utility bill Santa, return of Ceres, Zion path secured: News from around our 50 states," 19 Dec. 2019 Ortiz and Assistant City Attorney Savita Rai signed the judgment to demolish the house. Patrick Danner,, "San Antonio sues to shut down East Side house, hub of criminal activity," 16 Dec. 2019 In his first term, Buttigieg also clashed with housing activists over a plan to demolish or repair a thousand vacant homes in a thousand days, largely in black and Latino communities. Benjamin Wallace-wells, The New Yorker, "Pete Buttigieg’s High Hopes," 16 Dec. 2019 The existing station is scheduled to be demolished soon after Jan. 6, 2020, which also is the date of a groundbreaking for the project. Chuck Fieldman,, "Bike shelter demolition kicks off first step of work leading to new Clarendon Hills Metra station," 12 Dec. 2019 FoxRock plans to demolish most of the existing buildings, except for the iconic administration building., "The Quincy Planning Board has approved a developer’s plan to build 465 residential units in seven buildings at the site of the old Quincy Hospital.," 11 Dec. 2019 Mercy Health also wants to demolish a vacant, former bank building on hospital property at the corner of Kenwood Road and Happiness Way for a 40-space surface parking lot. Jeanne Houck,, "Seven-level parking garage proposed for The Jewish Hospital – Mercy Health in Kenwood," 5 Dec. 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.

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

Time Traveler for demolish

Time Traveler

The first known use of demolish was in 1570

See more words from the same year

Statistics for demolish

Last Updated

16 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Demolish.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 25 January 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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.

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).


dull or mediocre

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Intact Latin Quiz

  • roman tablet
  • What did focus mean in Latin?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


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!