ex·​tinc·​tion | \ ik-ˈstiŋ(k)-shən How to pronounce extinction (audio) \

Definition of extinction

1 : the act of making extinct or causing to be extinguished
2 : the condition or fact of being extinct or extinguished also : the process of becoming extinct extinction of a species
3 : the process of eliminating or reducing a conditioned response by not reinforcing it

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Examples of extinction in a Sentence

the extinction of all life in the region the extinction of many old traditions Mass extinctions of prehistoric animals are known to have occurred.
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Recent Examples on the Web But now the organization faces permanent extinction in a matter of weeks. Lily Hay Newman, Wired, "A Critical Internet Safeguard Is Running Out of Time," 16 Mar. 2020 Other conservationists are in a frenzy searching for surviving Kangaroo Island dunnarts, another mouse-sized marsupial, which researchers say could also be facing extinction. Amy Gunia, Time, "This Marsupial Was Only Discovered 5 Years Ago. Climate Change and Australia's Bushfires Are Driving It to Extinction," 10 Jan. 2020 At least 25 people have been killed, thousands of homes have been destroyed, and some species of native fauna face mass extinction. Carrie Hutchinson, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Australian Bushfires: What You Need to Know if You Have a Trip Planned," 9 Jan. 2020 According to a recent study in the journal Biological Conservation, 18 percent of the world’s 557 raptor species face extinction and 52 percent have declining populations. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Text Messages Sent by Roaming Eagles Bankrupt Scientific Study," 29 Oct. 2019 Three out of four cubs die in the smuggling process and the the cheetah species is now facing extinction. Pam Kragen, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Local wildlife center aims to save cheetah cubs destined for illegal pet trade," 20 Oct. 2019 Arielle Martinez Cohen remembers reading a report from an Australian think tank that warned the human species could face extinction by 2050 if society doesn’t get its act together. Dennis Prager, National Review, "If You Can’t Sell Your Hysteria to Adults, Try Kids," 24 Sep. 2019 As oceans and forests transform and ecosystems go into shock, perhaps a million species teeter on the edge of extinction. Matt Simon, WIRED, "Many Animals Can’t Adapt Fast Enough to Climate Change," 23 July 2019 Biologists are worried that a young orca, a member of a species facing extinction in the Salish Sea, is at a greater risk of dying after falling so far behind her family that it hadn’t been sighted for more than three days. Lynda V. Mapes, The Seattle Times, "Concerns grow for young orca’s life as it struggles to swim with family in Salish Sea," 3 Sep. 2018

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for extinction

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for extinction

Last Updated

30 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Extinction.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/extinction. Accessed 1 Apr. 2020.

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More Definitions for extinction


How to pronounce extinction (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of extinction

: the state or situation that results when something (such as a plant or animal species) has died out completely


ex·​tinc·​tion | \ ik-ˈstiŋk-shən How to pronounce extinction (audio) \

Kids Definition of extinction

: the state of being, becoming, or making extinct


ex·​tinc·​tion | \ ik-ˈstiŋ(k)-shən How to pronounce extinction (audio) \

Medical Definition of extinction

1 : the process of becoming extinct the extinction of a species also : the condition or fact of being extinct
2 : the process of eliminating or reducing a conditioned response by not reinforcing it

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