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

On one hand, 99 percent of species listed under the act have avoided extinction. Shawn Regan, National Review, "The New Endangered-Species Regulations Are Good for Species," 12 Sep. 2019 The embryos are just one part of a long journey to stop the northern white rhino's rapid descent into extinction. Faith Karimi And Bethlehem Feleke, CNN, "There are 2 northern white rhinos left worldwide. Scientists created embryos to save the animal from extinction," 12 Sep. 2019 Poachers have been responsible for the near-extinction. BostonGlobe.com, "Newburyport Documentary Film Festival," 12 Sep. 2019 Though the black rhino population has rebounded from the brink of extinction thanks to persistent conservation efforts, poaching and black-market trafficking of rhino horns remain a threat. N'dea Yancey-bragg, USA TODAY, "Trump administration lets trophy hunter import body parts of rare rhino he paid $400K to kill," 9 Sep. 2019 Habitat loss has driven the populations to inbreeding that could lead to extinction within 15 years unless the big cats regularly connect with other populations to increase their diversity. Washington Post, "Mountain lion fatally struck trying to cross LA freeway," 7 Sep. 2019 This month a new series by the artist, devoted to mortality and extinction, will go on view at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C. Los Angeles Times, "Judy Chicago says, ‘I was being erased’ from Southern California art history," 6 Sep. 2019 American Plains Bison: plentiful nationwide until hunted to near-extinction. Mary Bergin, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "A little-known heirloom pepper has its own festival in Beaver Dam, where it arrived in America long ago," 3 Sep. 2019 Snake River sockeye salmon, which swim up the Columbia and reproduce in high-elevation Idaho lakes, teetered on extinction for several years before an elaborate hatchery program involving Fish and Game was created. Keith Ridler, The Seattle Times, "New plan targets salmon-eating sea lions in Columbia River," 2 Sep. 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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Statistics for extinction

Last Updated

15 Sep 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).


to make a temporary encampment

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