ex·tinc·tion | \ik-ˈstiŋ(k)-shən \

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

In 2012, the beleaguered BCS had been pushed to the brink of extinction by a controversial LSU-Alabama rematch in the previous title game. Joan Niesen, SI.com, "The Computer Poll Uprising: Creators of the BCS's Most Controversial Component Look Back," 11 July 2018 No marine mammal faces such an immediate threat of extinction. Louis Sahagun, latimes.com, "To save the world's rarest marine mammal, conservationists seek ban on Mexican seafood imports," 11 July 2018 Wired headphones are under no immediate threat of extinction, but the future of personal audio will be defined and dominated by their wireless peers, that’s already clear. Vlad Savov, The Verge, "Wired headphones are becoming the mechanical watches of personal audio," 7 July 2018 Poaching has driven the northern white rhino to the brink of extinction. Deutsche Welle, USA TODAY, "Northern white rhino could be saved from extinction using embryos," 5 July 2018 Kock and fellow conservationists warned against focusing only on the northern white rhino sub-species, noting that its southern cousin has come back from the brink of extinction and now numbers some 21,000 individuals. Washington Post, "Scientists create hybrids in race to save rhino sub-species," 4 July 2018 The bald eagle, the nation’s symbol, was once at the brink of extinction. Emilie Ikeda, Fox News, "Bald eagle, once a dying breed, making groundbreaking comeback across country," 22 June 2018 An imminent threat of extinction drives the narrative. Joe Morgenstern, WSJ, "‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ Review: Reasonably Edible and Credible," 20 June 2018 This, after all, is a company that looked to be on the verge of extinction — or at least irrelevance — in 2003. Scott Kirsner, BostonGlobe.com, "How Boston software maker PTC came back from the brink," 16 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

13 Oct 2018

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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 \

Kids Definition of extinction

: the state of being, becoming, or making extinct


ex·tinc·tion | \ik-ˈstiŋ(k)-shən \

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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