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 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 Generally speaking, stars don’t extinguish gracefully. Dylan Hernández Columnist, Los Angeles Times, "Column: It’ll be a trilogy with a predictable ending: Kenley Jansen’s October meltdown III," 18 Mar. 2021 But our personhood is so strong that the disease, even in its late stages, can’t fully extinguish the human personality. Rich Lowry, National Review, "Alzheimer’s Be Not Proud," 2 Mar. 2021 Forecasters never expected enough precipitation to extinguish the fire, which has burned more than more than 67,000 acres, pushed by hot dry winds, and is 58% contained. Michael Cabanatuan, SFChronicle.com, "Hope fades for fire-dampening rainfall in Napa, Sonoma counties," 7 Oct. 2020 Portland out-scored the Mavericks 32-21 and out-rebounded them 16-8 in the fourth quarter to extinguish Dallas’ third-quarter surge. Callie Caplan, Dallas News, "Mavs fail to capitalize on Luka Doncic’s nifty passes and near triple-double in key loss to Trail Blazers," 19 Mar. 2021 The fire was located in one of the town home’s chimneys and attic and required about 45 minutes to extinguish, the release said. Naperville Sun Staff Report, chicagotribune.com, "Three people rescued from fire in Naperville town house, fire department says," 4 Mar. 2021 Deputies cleared the scene an hour later, but Orange County Fire Rescue was called to extinguish a fire at the residence around 5:30 p.m. Katie Rice, orlandosentinel.com, "Domestic violence suspect shot at deputy twice before being fatally shot, footage shows," 1 Mar. 2021 Battling heat and zero visibility, fire personnel were able to extinguish the fire, the release stated, adding that no working smoke detectors were located within the home. Brian Lisik, cleveland, "Four injuries reported in Brunswick house fire," 11 Feb. 2021 This doesn’t prove that human hunting didn’t help extinguish the woolly rhino, cautions Dalen. Alex Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, "Climate Change, Not Hunting, May Have Doomed the Woolly Rhinoceros," 13 Aug. 2020

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

9 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Extinguish.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/extinguish. Accessed 16 Apr. 2021.

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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

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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

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