ex·​tinct | \ ik-ˈstiŋ(k)t How to pronounce extinct (audio) , ˈek-ˌstiŋ(k)t How to pronounce extinct (audio) \

Definition of extinct

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : no longer burning
b : no longer active an extinct volcano
2 : no longer existing an extinct animal
3a : gone out of use : superseded
b : having no qualified claimant an extinct title


extincted; extincting; extincts

Definition of extinct (Entry 2 of 2)

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Synonyms & Antonyms for extinct

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Examples of extinct in a Sentence

Adjective Many of these old traditions have since become extinct. a few overgrown ruins are all that remain of that once mighty but now extinct civilization
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Numerous pollinator species are already extinct or threatened with extinction. Daniela De Lorenzo, Forbes, "Bayer Defeated In Legal Battle Against Pesticides Linked To Killing Bees," 7 May 2021 With the species functionally extinct in California, seaweed-eating purple urchins have proliferated, devouring bull kelp forests along a 200 mile stretch of the north coast where the sunflower sea star was the urchins’ main predator. Todd Woody, Anchorage Daily News, "Scientists are breeding sea stars in a lab in a Jurassic Park approach to combating climate change," 3 May 2021 This isn’t the first time people have thought that bear markets had been rendered extinct. Jason Zweig, WSJ, "What Happens When Stocks Only Go Up," 30 Apr. 2021 But modern politics, where power has tended to be used to the maximum and compromise is near extinct, doesn't work that way. Stephen Collinson, CNN, "Biden's big climate pledge is another promise it will be hard to honor," 23 Apr. 2021 Basically, the scientists patched together the complete ancient genome using modern and extinct bears as templates—think about using a model of a bottlenose dolphin as a guide to assemble the body parts of a killer whale. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "In ‘Moon Landing of Genomics,’ Scientists Sequence Ancient DNA From Dirt," 20 Apr. 2021 The researchers then sequenced the participants’ whole genomes from the banked samples and compared them to genomes from reference databases, including those of modern people in Near Oceania and extinct archaic humans, Neanderthals and Denisovans. Michael Price, Science | AAAS, "Study reveals ‘exciting’ history of humans in Pacific. But critics blast lack of Indigenous input," 14 Apr. 2021 Beavers were likely once nearly extinct in Illinois. Morgan Greene, chicagotribune.com, "Hundreds of residents rally to save beavers that made a home in Glenview development," 13 Apr. 2021 The recovered fossil skeleton is considered the most complete of its evolutionary branch —ctenacanth — that split from modern sharks and rays around 390 million years ago and went extinct around 60 million years later. BostonGlobe.com, "‘Godzilla’ shark discovered in New Mexico gets formal name," 17 Apr. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'extinct.' 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 extinct


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for extinct


Middle English, from Latin exstinctus, past participle of exstinguere

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Time Traveler for extinct

Time Traveler

The first known use of extinct was in the 15th century

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Statistics for extinct

Last Updated

11 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Extinct.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/extinct. Accessed 12 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for extinct



English Language Learners Definition of extinct

: no longer existing
: no longer active


ex·​tinct | \ ik-ˈstiŋkt How to pronounce extinct (audio) \

Kids Definition of extinct

1 : no longer active an extinct volcano
2 : no longer existing Dinosaurs are extinct.


ex·​tinct | \ ik-ˈstiŋ(k)t How to pronounce extinct (audio) , ˈek-ˌ How to pronounce extinct (audio) \

Medical Definition of extinct

: no longer existing : lacking living representatives extinct prehistoric animals

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