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

While extinguishing the Safeway grocery store fire on Wednesday, Phoenix firefighters were able to apply training and tactics learned from the 2001 supermarket fire to prevent any loss of life during the Safeway fire, Phoenix Fire said. Nathan J. Fish, azcentral, "Lessons from Phoenix firefighter's 2001 death influenced way crews handled Safeway fire," 12 July 2018 For refugees already living in the country, Tuesday’s verdict all but extinguished their hopes of bringing their relatives to the United States. Matthew Ormseth, courant.com, "Immigrants In Connecticut Worry About Trump Travel Ban, But Supreme Court Ruling Wins Praise From Others," 29 June 2018 The fire, which was largely extinguished by 11 p.m. Sunday, caused about $1 million in damages, according to the news release. Jordan Cutler-tietjen, sacbee, "Arrest made in 'deliberate' Grant Union High fire that caused $1 million in damage," 10 July 2018 Firefighters were in close quarters in a smoky garage checking to make sure the fire was completely extinguished. Christine Dempsey, courant.com, "Fairfield FD: Firefighter Hit In Face With Tool At Fire Scene," 29 June 2018 While was blaze was extinguished, her fear of fire bloomed. Peter Rowe, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Father's Day without a hero dad: how a widow makes her late husband present to their young daughters," 17 June 2018 The fire was extinguished within 20 minutes of arrival, Lenzi said, while crews remained on scene for approximately two hours continuing with smoke removal efforts. Jim Newton, Lake County News-Sun, "Waukegan lightning strike causes apartment complex evacuation during storm," 16 May 2018 The fire was extinguished and the cause is under investigation, the department said. Anna Buchmann, sacbee, "One killed in fire at residence in Pocket area, officials say," 1 June 2018 The fire was extinguished in about 20 minutes, with no injuries reported but damage to the roof and a kicked-in front door estimated to be about $10,000, the release said. Mike Danahey, Elgin Courier-News, "Torrential rain Wednesday leads to flooded roads, lightning fire in Elgin," 31 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

2 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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Comments on extinguish

What made you want to look up extinguish? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


evasion of direct action or statement

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