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


blanket, douse (also dowse), put out, quench, snuff (out)


fire, ignite, inflame (also enflame), kindle, light

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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

Five days after the crash, the vehicle’s battery reignited and firefighters extinguished the blaze, investigators said. Mike Spector, WSJ, "Tesla Autopilot System Warned Driver to Put Hands on Wheel, U.S. Investigators Say," 7 June 2018 Firefighters from Pleasantview Fire Protection District extinguished the fire. Kimberly Fornek, chicagotribune.com, "Police blotter: Westmont driver charged with leaving scene of crash in Darien," 3 June 2018 Firefighters extinguished the blaze and emergency crews took the three, who Gilliland said had cuts and bruises, to Houston Methodist West Hospital. Michela Garcia, Houston Chronicle, "3 arrested in 'bank jugging' sting near Katy," 1 June 2018 First responders extinguished the fire and were securing the area. Fox News, "Air Force training jet crashes in Mississippi; pilots ejected safely," 23 May 2018 Fire crews extinguished the blaze and were treating three patients. Alene Tchekmedyian, latimes.com, "Some lanes reopened after fiery big rig crash on 405 Freeway near Mulholland Drive," 1 May 2018 Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District personnel extinguished a mobile home fire Tuesday morning in North Highlands. Anthony Sorci, sacbee, "Mobile home fire extinguished in North Highlands | The Sacramento Bee," 20 Mar. 2018 The fire department extinguished the fire after a few hours. Sarah Hager, Cincinnati.com, "Middletown Fire Department battles flames at warehouse," 3 Feb. 2018 With its help, the firefighters extinguished the blaze and largely saved 850 years of history—and no civilians or firefighters were killed in the process. Andrew Han, Popular Mechanics, "Meet the Robot Firefighter That Battled the Notre Dame Blaze," 17 Apr. 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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Statistics for extinguish

Last Updated

15 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

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 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

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


something valued as if it were money

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