ex·​tin·​guish | \ ik-ˈstiŋ-(g)wish How to pronounce extinguish (audio) \
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

Other Words from extinguish

extinguishable \ ik-​ˈstiŋ-​(g)wi-​shə-​bəl How to pronounce extinguish (audio) \ adjective
extinguisher \ ik-​ˈstiŋ-​(g)wi-​shər How to pronounce extinguish (audio) \ noun
extinguishment \ ik-​ˈstiŋ-​(g)wish-​mənt How to pronounce extinguish (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for extinguish



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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 Firefighters were continuing to work to extinguish hot spots at about 9:30 a.m. Sunday. Jamie Goldberg, oregonlive, 2 Jan. 2022 The kids watching in fascination as firemen extinguish a scrapyard flame. IndyStar, 30 Dec. 2021 On its face, Don’t Look Up is a comedy about how politicians, the media and the public ignore the reality of a giant comet destined to hit earth and extinguish all life on the planet. Paul Tassi, Forbes, 28 Dec. 2021 Crews remained on the scene for another five hours after bringing the fire under control to extinguish hot spots and investigate the cause of the fire, officials said. Alicia Fabbre, chicagotribune.com, 10 Dec. 2021 But the follow-up post failed to extinguish the anger that the initial post had caused. Bradford Betz, Fox News, 7 Dec. 2021 The agency called for help from the town’s fire department and harbormaster to help extinguish the flames, said Petty Officer Amanda Wyrick. BostonGlobe.com, 6 Aug. 2021 The Western Acceptance Facility recycling plant in Halethorpe caught fire and firefighters had been working to extinguish it since 2:30 a.m., Baltimore County fire officials said. Mckenna Oxenden, baltimoresun.com, 25 Nov. 2021 In a statement several hours after the fire broke out, ExxonMobil said its emergency response teams were still working to extinguish the fire. NBC News, 23 Dec. 2021

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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Time Traveler for extinguish

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The first known use of extinguish was circa 1540

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Last Updated

15 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Extinguish.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/extinguish. Accessed 20 Jan. 2022.

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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 How to pronounce extinguish (audio) \
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 How to pronounce extinguish (audio) \

Medical Definition of extinguish

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


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

More from Merriam-Webster on extinguish

Nglish: Translation of extinguish for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of extinguish for Arabic Speakers


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