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

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.
Recent Examples on the Web Crime scene: The 1200 building on the MSD campus has not been used since the shooting, and a new freshman building put in place, but the school district cannot demolish the old building until prosecutors no longer need it. Kathy Laskowski, Sun Sentinel, 3 Aug. 2022 For the reconstruction of the Vine Street Expressway in 1989, the city initially planned to demolish a community church. Kimmy Yam, NBC News, 2 Aug. 2022 The Show Me Values PAC, funded with start-up cash from pro-Schmitt donors Rex and Jeanne Sinquefield and Nebraska’s Republican governor, Pete Ricketts, worked in recent weeks to try to demolish such impressions. David Weigel, Anchorage Daily News, 2 Aug. 2022 Metro health plan to demolish some buildings to build a park in its new campus setting. Laura Johnston, cleveland, 9 Mar. 2022 There would also be costs to demolish dozens of buildings. Mike Nolan,, 11 Feb. 2022 Ward, a Democrat, was near the center of the controversial 2005 decision to buy and demolish the failing Bristol Centre Mall; he was re-elected that year, but Couture was voted out in favor of Republican Bill Stortz. Don Stacom, Hartford Courant, 6 July 2022 In April, Jahangirpuri resident Mohammed Haseeb witnessed authorities demolish the front gate and wall of a local mosque. Tarushi Aswani, The Christian Science Monitor, 30 June 2022 The budget also has $780,000 to demolish the LMPD headquarters at Seventh and Jefferson streets. Billy Kobin, The Courier-Journal, 23 June 2022 See More

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.

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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The first known use of demolish was in 1570

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Last Updated

10 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Demolish.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for demolish


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.

More from Merriam-Webster on demolish

Nglish: Translation of demolish for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of demolish for Arabic Speakers


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