ex·tin·guish | \ik-ˈstiŋ-(g)wish \
extinguished; extinguishing; extinguishes

Definition of extinguish 

transitive verb

1a(1) : to bring to an end : make an end of hope for their safety was slowly extinguished

(2) : to reduce to silence or ineffectiveness

b : to cause to cease burning : quench

c : to cause extinction of (a conditioned response)

d : to dim the brightness of : eclipse

2a : to cause to be void : nullify extinguish a claim

b : to get rid of usually by payment extinguish a debt

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Other Words from extinguish

extinguishable \ik-ˈstiŋ-(g)wi-shə-bəl \ adjective
extinguisher \ik-ˈstiŋ-(g)wi-shər \ noun
extinguishment \ik-ˈstiŋ-(g)wish-mənt \ noun

Examples of extinguish in a Sentence

The fire department was called in to extinguish the blaze. He extinguished his cigarette in the ashtray. They ruthlessly extinguished all resistance. News of the conflict extinguished our hopes for a peaceful resolution.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The Fire District responded with the Marine 24, a high-powered fire boat added to the force last year, which was able to extinguish the barge blaze in six minutes and avoid catastrophic damage or further detrimental impact to the lake. Julia Sclafani, sacbee, "'Lights on the Lake': Barge catches fire after Tahoe fireworks spectacular," 5 July 2018 The Yard Goats tied it in the eighth against Adam Lau with a lead-off home run down the right field line by Hilliard, but Weems entered with runners at the corners to extinguish the Hartford threat. Staff Report, courant.com, "Tendler's Pinch-Hit Homer In 9th Lifts Sea Dogs Past Yard Goats," 4 July 2018 The fire was extinguished and there was minor damage to the playground equipment. Staff Report, Daily Southtown, "Southland police blotter," 5 June 2018 The fire, at a complex in the 1000 block of Union Avenue in Bogalusa, took about an hour to extinguish, state fire officials said. Laura Mcknight, NOLA.com, "Bogalusa woman accused of setting fire to apartment after eviction," 25 May 2018 In essence, the league poured gasoline on the flames of controversy that time finally had begun to extinguish. David Haugh, chicagotribune.com, "NFL's new anthem rule requiring players to stand shows owners support social activism only on their terms," 23 May 2018 The fire was found to be in the second-floor and attic space of the coach house and required about an hour to be extinguished. Staff Report, Naperville Sun, "2 residents, 4 firefighters treated for smoke inhalation at scene of Naperville house fire," 21 May 2018 Fortunately, the homeowner, Norman Thomas, was still awakeand able to quickly extinguish the blaze and evacuate his family, including one person in a wheelchair. Kevin Leonard, Howard County Times, "Self-promoting klansman is finally undone," 10 May 2018 Cresswell scored his first goal of the season in the 4-1 loss against Manchester City last week, but his main task this week will be trying to extinguish the threat that Mahrez brings. SI.com, "Leicester vs West Ham Preview: Classic Encounter, Key Battle, Team News, Prediction & More," 4 May 2018

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

circa 1540, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

History and Etymology for extinguish

Latin exstinguere (from ex- + stinguere to extinguish) + English -ish (as in abolish); akin to Latin instigare to incite — more at stick

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Statistics for extinguish

Last Updated

16 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for extinguish

The first known use of extinguish was circa 1540

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More Definitions for extinguish



English Language Learners Definition of extinguish

: to cause (something) to stop burning

: to cause the end or death of (something)


ex·tin·guish | \ik-ˈstiŋ-gwish \
extinguished; extinguishing

Kids Definition of extinguish

1 : to cause to stop burning

2 : to cause to die out More bad news extinguished all hope.

Other Words from extinguish

extinguisher noun


transitive verb
ex·tin·guish | \ik-ˈstiŋ-(g)wish \

Medical Definition of extinguish 

: to cause extinction of (a conditioned response) extinguish an avoidance response

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transitive verb

Legal Definition of extinguish 

1 : to cause the nonexistence of : do away with

2 : to cause (as a claim or right) to be void : nullify

3 : to get rid of (a debt or other liability) by payment or other compensatory adjustment

Other Words from extinguish

extinguishable adjective
extinguishment noun

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