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b : no longer active an extinct volcano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3a : gone out of use : superseded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 Many of the herbivores grazing the mixed scrub are tough domesticates standing in as surrogates for extinct species. Christopher Preston, The Atlantic, "Conservationists No Longer Agree on What ‘Wild’ Means," 9 Apr. 2020 The find from the Portuguese cave taps into ongoing scientific debates about the cognitive sophistication of Neanderthals, and how different the extinct species really was from our earliest modern human ancestors. New York Times, "Neanderthals Feasted on Seafood, Seabirds, Perhaps Even Dolphins," 26 Mar. 2020 The extinct species of shark was enormous compared with modern sharks and was believed to feed on smaller whales millions of years ago. Dom Difurio, Dallas News, "The Dallas suburb of Allen is growing up, and so are its dinosaurs," 23 Feb. 2020 The tortoises that were discovered in the new expedition are hybrids from not only extinct species, but other species as well. Fox News, "Descendants from extinct tortoise species discovered in Galapagos," 5 Feb. 2020 Some people speculate in the future there will be ‘cloneprinting,’ which has the potential for reviving extinct species or solving the organ transplant shortage. Ana Santos Rutschman, The Conversation, "3D printing of body parts is coming fast – but regulations are not ready," 10 Jan. 2020 The relatively short duration of that civilization could be due to their hunting methods, which saw them start massive fires in order to hunt the megafauna that lived on this continent back then—now-extinct species like the mammoth and mastodon. Wes Siler, Outside Online, "How Many Dead Animals Is 1 Billion Dead Animals?," 10 Jan. 2020 One way to do this is to look at the genetics of extinct species. The Conversation/jessica Emma Thomas, Ars Technica, "DNA points to humans as killers of the northern version of the penguin," 27 Dec. 2019 Even extinct species such as trilobites and dinosaurs sported elaborate projections. Kendall Powell, Scientific American, "The Weapons of Sexual Rivalry," 24 Dec. 2019

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

24 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Extinct.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/extinct. Accessed 26 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for extinct


How to pronounce extinct (audio) How to pronounce extinct (audio)

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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More from Merriam-Webster on extinct

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for extinct

Spanish Central: Translation of extinct

Nglish: Translation of extinct for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of extinct for Arabic Speakers

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