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

Wisconsin’s wolves are a prime example of how a strong ESA is critical to ensuring that rare species aren’t subjected to irresponsible killing, threatening them with extinction. WSJ, "How Best to Keep Those Wolves From the Door?," 12 Aug. 2018 According to the update, 26,197 species of plants and animals are currently threatened with extinction. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Australian Reptiles And a Toad Named After Gollum on Latest Endangered Species Update," 6 July 2018 Giant clams, also threatened with extinction, were seized by police as well. National Geographic, "Turtle Trafficker Sentenced, But Suspected Mastermind Still Not Charged," 8 June 2018 The firm was threatened with extinction because of severe US sanctions imposed after ZTE infringed US restrictions on trade with Iran and North Korea. Stephen Collinson, CNN, "Trump flips US foreign policy upside down," 7 June 2018 The treaty prohibits species that are threatened with extinction from being commercially traded across borders unless they were bred in captivity. Rachel Nuwer, New York Times, "That Python in the Pet Store? It May Have Been Snatched From the Wild," 9 Apr. 2018 As a result games are being cancelled or postponed, and park leagues are threatened with extinction. Ana Veciana-suarez, miamiherald, "Misbehaving parents need a time-out from youth sports | Miami Herald," 2 Apr. 2018 The sixth mass extinction is upon us and accelerating, and our technological prowess remains unchecked by the fullness of time. Robert M. Thorson, WSJ, "‘Timefulness’ Review: Thinking in Eons," 30 Dec. 2018 But extinction could be close 360,000 Californians have unsafe drinking water. Dale Kasler And Ryan Sabalow, sacbee, "Southern California already supports the Delta tunnels. But now it's voting again," 7 June 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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Last Updated

17 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for extinction

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

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More Definitions for extinction



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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Comments on extinction

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


of or relating to a parable or parabola

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