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.
Recent Examples on the Web The collision caused the motorcycle gas tank to dislodge and start a fire in nearby vegetation, so the Carlsbad Fire Department was called to extinguish it. Deborah Sullivan Brennan, San Diego Union-Tribune, 26 Mar. 2022 The blaze spanned 1,000 square feet, and roughly 75 firefighters responded to help extinguish it, Fox affiliate KDVR reported. Charmaine Patterson, PEOPLE.com, 24 Mar. 2022 The previous night's trip down the Bransfield Strait, which separates the Peninsula from the South Shetland Islands, was replete with roaring winds, wild waves and a level of seasickness no pill could extinguish. Mark Johanson, CNN, 27 Apr. 2022 The Ohio Eighth District Court of Appeals reversed that decision in April 2020, saying the heirs did not extinguish interests to the property. Laura Hancock, cleveland, 11 May 2021 Local authorities are still attempting to extinguish the flames caused by the explosions. Lawrence Richard, Fox News, 18 Apr. 2022 Air raid sirens wailed continuously as firefighters struggled to extinguish the flames and ambulances ferried away the wounded. New York Times, 18 Apr. 2022 The endless, unrestrained flattery seems akin to the celebration of an arsonist who lights his house on fire, cuts the water hose, and then cheers as the fire brigade arrives to extinguish the flames. Timothy Mclaughlin, The Atlantic, 17 Mar. 2022 State Emergency Service said rescuers rushed to extinguish the flames after the bombardment damaged high-rise buildings, garages and a warehouse. Washington Post, 16 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

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 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Extinguish.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/extinguish. Accessed 24 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for extinguish


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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