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 Several studies have suggested a volcano eruption played a greater role in the extinction of the dinosaurs than the asteroid that crashed into modern-day Mexico. Fox News, "Dinosaur extinction was 'all about the asteroid,' casting doubt about volcano's impact, new study says," 17 Jan. 2020 Lonesome George – died, marking the extinction of the Pinta Island tortoise. Ryan W. Miller, USA TODAY, "Diego, a tortoise that saved his species by having lots of sex, is retiring and going home," 14 Jan. 2020 Long mystery solved: A look into the century-old extinction of North America’s only native parakeet says humans were to blame. National Geographic, "What makes this cardinal so fascinating?," 19 Dec. 2019 In End of the Megafauna, mammologist and curator at the American Museum of Natural History Ross MacPhee investigates the extinction of these behemoths, complete with beautiful color illustrations from zoology and paleontology artist Peter Schouten. Jay Bennett, Smithsonian, "The Ten Best Science Books of 2019," 11 Dec. 2019 And, is colonizing another planet really the answer to the potential extinction of our own? Ben Lamm, Quartz, "The problems we’re solving for on Earth will only follow us to Mars," 5 Dec. 2019 Catastrophes such as an epidemic, an unexpected decline in prey, natural calamities or retaliatory killings could result in the extinction of the lion population when they are restricted to single populations, the action plan adds. Anup Dutta, Quartz India, "Kuno is ready to become India’s second lion sanctuary, 29 years after it was identified," 27 Nov. 2019 Groves is a co-author with Mann on a 2019 paper about what might have caused the extinction of so many large animals at the end of the last ice age, about 11,700 years ago. Anchorage Daily News, "What killed the world’s giants?," 23 Nov. 2019 The scenario is similar to severe epidemic outbreaks and would lead first to the complete extinction of humans and then to the death of all vampires. Courtney Linder, Popular Mechanics, "How Likely Is a Vampire Apocalypse? There's Math for That.," 31 Oct. 2019

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

20 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Extinction.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/extinction. Accessed 26 January 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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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).


to express in a more acceptable way

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