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b : no longer active an extinct volcano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3a : gone out of use : superseded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

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Synonyms & Antonyms for extinct

Synonyms: Adjective

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

Antonyms: Adjective

alive, existent, existing, extant, living

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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

Scientists studying bones unearthed from an ancient tomb in China’s Shaanxi Province have discovered the remains of a new but totally extinct species of ape. James Rogers, Fox News, "Mysterious remains of extinct ape discovered in ancient Chinese tomb," 22 June 2018 Other researchers are tracing the evolution of the Y chromosome and comparing the version found in modern men with those of our close relatives, both living and extinct. Natalie Angier, New York Times, "Secrets of the Y Chromosome," 11 June 2018 This evidence of an interaction between human and extinct giant sloth is ‘‘unique in the world,’’ Belvedere said. Ben Guarino, BostonGlobe.com, "Fossil footprints show a human chasing an extinct giant sloth," 26 Apr. 2018 Smith and her colleagues say that was probably the legacy of thousands of years of interactions between hominins and other African mammals, which drove larger species extinct and exerted pressure that reduced the size of the surviving species. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Mammals are smaller than they used to be, and it’s our fault," 19 Apr. 2018 One-third of wildlife species in the U.S. are at risk of extinction, 40% of the nation's freshwater fish are rare or imperiled and 70% of freshwater mussel species are extinct or near extinction, for example. Paul A. Smith, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Smith: Wildlife groups push bill to restore non-game species," 18 Apr. 2018 For The Golden Menagerie, that meant going to the museum of Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature in Paris to study rare and extinct animals of the past, which in turn influenced her designs. Kristen Bateman, Town & Country, "Meet Temple St. Clair, the American Jeweler Who's Preserving Old-World Italian Craftsmanship," 28 June 2017 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

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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Statistics for extinct

Last Updated

9 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for extinct

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

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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

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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

Comments on extinct

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playful or foolish behavior

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