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 For $2 to $3 billion, demolish the convention center and build a new one — either underground or facing Lamar Street. Sharon Grigsby, Dallas News, 10 Sep. 2021 When the time comes, the city could then demolish the property and perhaps restore the land as a public park or some form of natural protection from the sea. Los Angeles Times, 20 Aug. 2021 The city of Waukegan agreed to demolish the dilapidated structures, once used for the retail office and residence, along with issuing the permits. Gregory Harutunian,, 20 Aug. 2021 The designers also persuaded Bi-State Development to demolish its 1,200-car garage, which had cost $8.4 million to build in 1986, and on which construction bonds had just been paid off by the early 2010s. Steven Litt, cleveland, 15 Aug. 2021 The town hurriedly sought bids from qualified contractors, and hired Environmental Services Inc. of South Windsor to demolish the wreckage, haul it away and do any necessary environmental cleanup. Jessika Harkay,, 12 Aug. 2021 Similarly, Rye is the only one able to demolish Brenna's PR armor of 5-inch heels and impeccable attire, getting at the lonely woman lingering underneath. Maureen Lee Lenker,, 30 July 2021 The make room for a football field, the Padres will demolish around 200 field-level seats adjacent to the team’s dugout and replace them with 11 movable pieces, Greupner previously told the Union-Tribune. Jennifer Van Grove, San Diego Union-Tribune, 28 July 2021 And those developers could demolish the building and start from scratch, pricing out residents who have sat on their investments. New York Times, 6 July 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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Last Updated

15 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Demolish.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Sep. 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
: 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.

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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