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

Developers would also be responsible for demolishing existing buildings. Kathleen Mcwilliams,, "Newington residents optimistic about proposed train station and developments that might follow," 11 July 2019 Part of the cost difference comes from the costs to demolish the old building and fix the recreation facilities. Catalina Righter,, "Carroll school board narrows East Middle options to building replacement project," 11 July 2019 As part the agreement with Java Properties, the EDA agreed to pay half the cost of demolishing the building or $25,000, whichever is less. Nick Ferraro, Twin Cities, "West St. Paul could get a brew pub, bank on ‘blighted’ South Robert Street corner," 10 July 2019 City officials had been trying to demolish the building for years. San Diego Union-Tribune, "California Theatre remodel sails through first government review," 10 July 2019 The property consists of two parcels that currently contain a surface parking lot and a to-be-demolished office building. Jc Reindl, Detroit Free Press, "Chemical Bank chairman's grown kids get development, landlord deal," 6 July 2019 The conceptual plans that were unveiled earlier this year include demolishing the former Sears and Carson’s buildings to make room for a grocery store, two apartment buildings, a courtyard and numerous free-standing storefronts. Rick Kambic,, "As wait continues for formal plan to redevelop Hawthorn Mall, officials in Vernon Hills gear up for negotiations over tax incentives," 3 July 2019 Banyan Residential, the developer of the project, intends to demolish the old car dealership buildings there. Lorraine Longhi, azcentral, "Historic Scottsdale plaza, an entryway from Phoenix, in redevelopment talks," 23 June 2019 The school district posted the survey last month, after an open letter from Superintendent Jason Glass said officials were exploring the idea of demolishing the building, where 13 people were killed in a mass shooting in 1999. Ryan Osborne, The Denver Post, "Jeffco survey on proposal to demolish, rebuild Columbine receives nearly 7,000 responses," 19 June 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

17 Jul 2019

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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

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