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 Shelbourne also has plans to demolish the vacant, decaying Talcott Street garage and has applied for demolition permits. Kenneth R. Gosselin,, "Erik Johnson, former development director for city of Hartford, takes post with city’s largest downtown commercial landlord," 10 Sep. 2020 Nahra said Aladdin’s has entered into a purchase agreement to buy the building and has plans to demolish the building’s interior to convert it back, from office, to its original warehouse use. cleveland, "Richmond Heights Council approves plans for new Flexjet building, coming of Aladdin’s Bakery," 9 Sep. 2020 These shows share a formal attitude, a willingness to play within genre boundaries and just as easily demolish them. Jason Parham, Wired, "The Transgressive, Progressive Utopia of Summer Television," 3 Sep. 2020 Tom Tunney, 44th, backed efforts to get the home on the city’s preservation list as the museum sought to demolish it. Bob Goldsborough,, "Lakeview’s historic Daniel O. Hill House, once at risk of demolition, set to become apartments after selling for $1.7 million," 2 Sep. 2020 But this is a strong lineup on paper, and the pitching staff -- on pace to demolish the record for strikeouts per nine innings -- is already doing its job. Dave Clark, The Enquirer, "Will Cincinnati Reds make 2020 playoffs? ESPN MLB insiders still like their chances," 2 Sep. 2020 Faisal Demaag said a contractor first offered to demolish his store, Chicago Furniture Warehouse, for $18,000. Jeffrey Meitrodt, Star Tribune, "Skyrocketing demolition costs for riot-damaged Minneapolis, St. Paul properties delay rebuilding," 31 Aug. 2020 With no takers after two years, the seminary announced plans to demolish and subdivide it for redevelopment. Mike Scott,, "A tale of extravagance interrupted at the 1849 'Robb's Folly' estate in the Garden District," 27 Aug. 2020 Back in September 2019, Queen of Apostles received a permit to demolish the building, but did not undertake the project. Samantha Hendrickson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "The Village of Pewaukee is planning to save the historic St. Mary's Church from demolition," 31 July 2020

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

14 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Demolish.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Sep. 2020.

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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.

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