ex·​tin·​guish | \ik-ˈstiŋ-(g)wish \
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 \ adjective
extinguisher \ik-​ˈstiŋ-​(g)wi-​shər \ noun
extinguishment \ik-​ˈstiŋ-​(g)wish-​mənt \ noun

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

Firefighters extinguished the fire by 8:20 a.m., the spokesman said. Zolan Kanno-youngs, WSJ, "Deadly Car Crash Shuts Down Brooklyn Bridge," 21 Nov. 2018 The structure was engulfed in flames as firefighters poured on water from the exterior, according to the tweet at 5:33 a.m. The incident was called in at 5:16 a.m., and was almost completely extinguished by 6:40, Tinsley said. Christine Clarridge, The Seattle Times, "Fire in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood damages town houses under construction," 13 Sep. 2018 The laundry room was located directly below the child's bedroom, according to the Sheriff's Office, and Cal Fire responded quickly, extinguishing the fire before significant damage had occurred. Julia Sclafani, sacbee, "Auburn homeless man arrested after allegedly starting fire below baby's bedroom," 10 July 2018 Check manufacturer guidelines for properly extinguishing the fire and be sure to have all of the necessary tools. NBC News, "Injuries from backyard fire pits on the rise, experts warn," 29 June 2018 In all, 47 brush and forest fires broke out across Greece Monday and early Tuesday, with most of them quickly extinguished, the fire department said. Travis Fedschun, Fox News, "Greece wildfires kill over 70, including 26 huddled near beach outside of Athens," 24 July 2018 Drew Nolan is 70 now and retired, but his intensity hasn’t extinguished. Frank Fitzpatrick, Philly.com, "Temple's Drew Nolan, the Owl without an off-switch | Frank's Place," 8 June 2018 Multiple lanes of the eastbound North Loop are closed at Main this morning as Houston firefighters work to extinguish an 18-wheeler containing bales of burning cardboard. Samantha Ketterer, Houston Chronicle, "Cargo 'like a burning onion' in big rig fire on North Loop," 12 July 2018 Despite the taxing triple-digit heat, the fire was extinguished at 5:11 p.m., according to Folsom Fire. Julia Sclafani, sacbee, "Propane tanks explode, vintage camping trailers destroyed in Folsom fire," 11 July 2018

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

27 Nov 2018

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 \
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 \

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).


to enclose within walls

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