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

Several other departments aided in extinguishing the fire, including Southlake, Keller, Westlake, Euless, Coppell, Flower Mound, Lewisville and Colleyville. Loyd Brumfield, Dallas News, "Smoke in electrical room forces brief evacuation at Grapevine's Great Wolf Lodge," 2 July 2019 Craig Stammen extinguished that threat in six pitches, striking out Cardinals lead-off hitter Tommy Edman and getting Jose Martinez on a grounder to third base. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Cardinals deny Padres sweep," 1 July 2019 García, whose investigations had been extinguished, was not among them, of course. Daniel Alarcón, The New Yorker, "What Led Peru’s Former President to Take His Own Life?," 1 July 2019 The fire department had extinguished the fire and all hot spots at the hangar by early afternoon. Jake Bleiberg, BostonGlobe.com, "Official: 10 dead in Dallas-area small plane crash," 30 June 2019 Crews have extinguished a residential fire in Milwaukie and rescued one person who was stuck inside. oregonlive.com, "One person rescued in Milwaukie house fire," 13 June 2019 Firefighters who reported smelling gasoline quickly extinguished a fire inside the bedroom where the two were found, local TV station WVLT News reports. Kc Baker, PEOPLE.com, "Tenn. Teacher and 8-Year-Old Son Dead in Apparent Murder-Suicide: 'A Tragic, Tragic Loss'," 12 June 2019 All these gifts and blessed souls and inner lights being extinguished lately is devastating. Martha Ross, The Mercury News, "One year after his death, XXXTentacion left a triumphant, tragic, troubled legacy," 18 June 2019 The fire has been extinguished, and members continue to operate in response to fuel leaking from the helicopter. April Siese, CBS News, "Helicopter crashes into Midtown Manhattan building," 11 June 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

10 Jul 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 desired as essential

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