de·​mol·​ish di-ˈmä-lish How to pronounce demolish (audio)
demolished; demolishing; demolishes

transitive verb

: tear down, raze
demolish a building
: to break to pieces : smash
His car was demolished in the accident.
: 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
: to strip of any pretense of merit or credence
demolished her debate opponents
demolish a stereotype
demolisher noun
demolishment 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 Scott-Mckinney said the porch was demolished with the dog under it. Kate Linderman, Kansas City Star, 8 Feb. 2024 Soon, the legendary Tropicana Hotel — the place where James Bond stayed — will be demolished to make way for a new stadium for the Oakland A's of Major League Baseball. Luke Burbank, CBS News, 4 Feb. 2024 One house was sold and demolished, with a big shiny new abode sprouting up in its place, refusing to blend in at all with the original, smaller, brick, ranch-style houses. Théoden Janes, Charlotte Observer, 1 Feb. 2024 The 9-acre property will be demolished and turned into a 30,000 seat MLB stadium for the Athletics baseball team, according to the Tropicana’s website. Michael Cappetta, Travel + Leisure, 1 Feb. 2024 To lower the value of the site, the Bears demolished the racetrack last year to turn it into vacant land. Robert McCoppin, Chicago Tribune, 30 Jan. 2024 Despite their pleas, the house, which was located at 1122 King Road is Moscow, was demolished on Dec. 28. Corin Cesaric, Peoplemag, 26 Jan. 2024 In a symbolic exclamation point this week, the North Koreans appear to have demolished a monument symbolizing reconciliation with the South, the Arch of Reunification, erected in 2000 on the southern edge of the capital during an earlier period of détente. Ned Temko, The Christian Science Monitor, 25 Jan. 2024 Dermody demolished the Berkeley Farms building and replaced it with the logistics center. George Avalos, The Mercury News, 26 Jan. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'demolish.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1570, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of demolish was in 1570

Dictionary Entries Near demolish

Cite this Entry

“Demolish.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


de·​mol·​ish di-ˈmäl-ish How to pronounce demolish (audio)
: to break to pieces : smash 2 : to do away with : put an end to
demolisher noun
demolishment noun

More from Merriam-Webster on demolish

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!