ex·tinct | \ik-ˈstiŋ(k)t, ˈek-ˌstiŋ(k)t \

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b : no longer active an extinct volcano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3a : gone out of use : superseded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)

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for extinct

Synonyms: Adjective

bygone, bypast, dead, defunct, departed, done, expired, gone, nonextant, vanished

Antonyms: Adjective

alive, existent, existing, extant, living

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of extinct in a Sentence


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

The traditional center is extinct, but the very tall human is making a comeback, complete with a level of skill and mobility that suits current times. Jerry Brewer, chicagotribune.com, "The NBA draft will show big men are back in fashion. And now they can do it all.," 21 June 2018 That starts with the premise, which goes as follows: It's been three years since catastrophe befell Jurassic World, and the remaining dinosaurs on Isla Nublar are about to go extinct. refinery29.com, "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom," 5 June 2018 Park officials say without a reliable wildlife crossing over the freeway, the small pocket of mountain lions there will lose genetic diversity to the point the population will eventually go extinct. Joseph Serna, latimes.com, "Cameras capture a mountain lion using a culvert to cross 101 Freeway," 14 Mar. 2018 At that rate, the species could go extinct by 2040, scientists say. David Abel, BostonGlobe.com, "After year of record deaths, right whales produce no new calves, which could be ‘catastrophic’," 26 Feb. 2018 Instead, born in Virginia, Tom Wolfe was that nearly extinct creature, the Southern gentleman. Roger Kimball, WSJ, "Tom Wolfe Had the Right Stuff," 15 May 2018 To protect species of nearly extinct fish, pumping often gets throttled back, allowing water that would otherwise be sent to farms and cities to wash out to the ocean. Ryan Sabalow, sacbee, "Did Gov. Brown promise the Bay Area a new reservoir in exchange for Delta tunnels support? | The Sacramento Bee," 30 Apr. 2018 The winegrower, who champions indigenous grapes like the nearly extinct mandó, ages wine in ancient amphorae that are housed in a cellar carved out of bedrock beneath the property. Ellen Bhang, BostonGlobe.com, "Distinctive Spanish pours are a breath of fresh air," 23 Apr. 2018 This obscure white grape historically used primarily for blending with trebbiano in Abruzzo and Puglia was nearly extinct, says Le Virtù co-owner Francis Cratil-Cretarola, until Cantina Frentana began making it on its own. Craig Laban, Philly.com, "Nearly extinct grape of Abruzzo remembered by the glass in South Philly," 19 Jan. 2018

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about extinct

Statistics for extinct

Last Updated

12 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for extinct

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for extinct



English Language Learners Definition of extinct

: no longer existing

: no longer active


ex·tinct | \ik-ˈstiŋkt \

Kids Definition of extinct

1 : no longer active an extinct volcano

2 : no longer existing Dinosaurs are extinct.


ex·tinct | \ik-ˈstiŋ(k)t, ˈek-ˌ \

Medical Definition of extinct 

: no longer existing : lacking living representatives extinct prehistoric animals

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on extinct

What made you want to look up extinct? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to reject or criticize sharply

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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