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 To install the new escalators, crews will demolish the existing ones and remove the parts using heavy equipment. Washington Post, "130 Metro escalators will be replaced in overhaul program that begins Monday," 24 Apr. 2021 But advocates criticized the move as the city's annual attempt to demolish homeless camps in the weeks leading up to the Derby. Billy Kobin, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville officials change their minds on clearing homeless camps ahead of Kentucky Derby," 26 Mar. 2021 Those new owners could reuse the 219,775-square-foot building, Marcuvitz said, or demolish it and redevelop the entire 14- to 15-acre property — which would include the parking lot. Tom Daykin, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Greendale takes major step toward buying former Southridge Boston Store. That could bring new uses to the redeveloped site.," 2 Apr. 2021 His Palm Beach residence is under contract with developer Todd Michael Glaser, who reportedly plans to demolish it. Lisette Voytko, Forbes, "Jeffrey Epstein Mansion Money—$51 Million—Transferred To Victim’s Fund," 12 Mar. 2021 The developer who has the contract to buy that home, which was initially listed at about $22 million, reportedly plans to demolish it. James Hill, ABC News, "Jeffrey Epstein's Manhattan townhouse sells for approximately $51 million," 10 Mar. 2021 Wiser said the pricetag Louisville would have to pay to demolish the building is around $400,000. Lucas Aulbach, The Courier-Journal, "Downtown Louisville Odd Fellows Building's landmark status stripped in controversial vote," 26 Mar. 2021 Hong Cha-young, played by Jeon Yeo-bin, is a lawyer who originally worked at a law firm with Joon-hoo, trying to demolish the building, but later teams up with Vincenzo to save it. Joan Macdonald, Forbes, "For Ok Taec-Yeon Watching The Diverse Cast Of ‘Vincenzo’ Is A Joy," 21 Mar. 2021 As for demolition, Urankar said that, although initial plans called for DealPoint to first demolish the Sears building, that plan has likely changed. cleveland, "Questions about what’s happening with Belle Oaks at Richmond Town Square largely on hold until mall is sold," 10 Mar. 2021

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 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Demolish.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 May. 2021.

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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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