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

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Other Words from extinguish

extinguishable \ ik-​ˈstiŋ-​(g)wi-​shə-​bəl How to pronounce extinguishable (audio) \ adjective
extinguisher \ ik-​ˈstiŋ-​(g)wi-​shər How to pronounce extinguisher (audio) \ noun
extinguishment \ ik-​ˈstiŋ-​(g)wish-​mənt How to pronounce extinguishment (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 Using the wrong one could spread the fire, not extinguish it. Country Living Staff, Country Living, "How to Use Your Fire Extinguisher the Right Way," 1 Nov. 2019 Fire Chief Jeff Sorensen said the material, which had been placed in the building the day before the fire, reacted to the water that was being poured on the fire and made extinguishing it difficult. Jennifer Johnson, chicagotribune.com, "Park Ridge to owners of fire-damaged former gas station: Tear it down or we will," 16 Oct. 2019 Windsor Severance firefighters — along with firefighters from Greeley, Eaton and Front Range Fire Rescue — used foam to suppress the fire, extinguishing it about 10 p.m., Kazian said. Kieran Nicholson, The Denver Post, "Worker dies as fire breaks out at Weld County oil-gas site," 31 July 2019 But that hope was all but extinguished when Walpole restored its three-goal lead on a penalty stroke by sophomore Natalie Griffin with 17 minutes to play. BostonGlobe.com, "“Nobody pays attention to the girls, they just focus on the boys,” said Jen Crook. “They’re very competitive in anything they do. They try to leave it on the field.”," 7 Nov. 2019 The Smiths bought the parcel, extinguished a subdivision plan that was in place for it, then donated it to WLT. Denise Coffey, courant.com, "More Than A Walk In The Woods," 4 Nov. 2019 Capewell focuses the majority of his guiding in Francois Peron National Park, where sunsets rival the smoldering hues of the Red Centre around Uluru before being extinguished in the quintessentially Australian turquoise waters. Brandon Presser, Condé Nast Traveler, "Aboriginal Australian Sites You Can See Up Close," 25 Oct. 2019 Makil said an investigation into the cause will take place once the fire is fully extinguished. Alyssa Stoney, azcentral, "Firefighters battle fire at landfill on Salt River Reservation," 25 Oct. 2019 California has also been terrible at managing vegetation that’s grown out of control, because wildfires that naturally reset ecosystems are now quickly extinguished to save human lives. Wired, "Kincade Fire: The Age of Flames Is Consuming California," 24 Oct. 2019

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

Time Traveler

The first known use of extinguish was circa 1540

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Statistics for extinguish

Last Updated

27 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Extinguish.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/extinguishable. Accessed 5 December 2019.

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More Definitions for extinguish


How to pronounce extinguish (audio)

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

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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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