im·​mo·​late ˈi-mə-ˌlāt How to pronounce immolate (audio)
immolated; immolating

transitive verb

: to kill or destroy especially by fire
: to offer in sacrifice
especially : to kill as a sacrificial victim
immolator noun

Examples of immolate in a Sentence

a man who immolated himself as an act of protest a ceremony in which they immolated their cherished possessions so that the gods would send rain
Recent Examples on the Web Saddam’s regime had destroyed almost all its WMD programs in the early 1990s but continued for a decade longer to give every indication of having kept much of them, immolating itself in the process. Gideon Rose, Foreign Affairs, 20 Feb. 2024 There are other legal advisors who have similarly immolated their careers on his behalf. Matt Ford, The New Republic, 2 Nov. 2023 Also immolated were irreplaceable family heirlooms. Reis Thebault, Washington Post, 18 Aug. 2023 The album is front-loaded with familiar ruminations on immolating love, bubbling infatuations and shifting identities. Bobby Olivier, SPIN, 24 Mar. 2023 Particularly when Black families could not afford to leave the community after a lynching, or refused to, not sharing the details with one’s children was a way to protect them from more violence, as well as from the self-immolating rage and despair that might destroy them. Eric Herschthal, The New Republic, 23 Mar. 2023 Whose career never immolated in a dumpster fire of corruption or ego like that of too many of her Eastside colleagues. Gustavo Arellano, Los Angeles Times, 14 Mar. 2023 Universities won’t need to immolate themselves. Allen C. Guelzo and Scott L. Wyatt, WSJ, 7 Sep. 2022 While East Jerusalem’s lack of good schools has long angered local Palestinians, residents like Mr. Salahiya, who threatened to immolate himself, say Israel is trying to improve education at their families’ expense. Dov Lieber, WSJ, 29 July 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'immolate.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Latin immolatus, past participle of immolare to sprinkle with meal before sacrificing, sacrifice, from in- + mola sacrificial barley cake, literally, millstone; akin to Latin molere to grind — more at meal

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of immolate was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near immolate

Cite this Entry

“Immolate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


im·​mo·​late ˈim-ə-ˌlāt How to pronounce immolate (audio)
immolated; immolating
: to kill as a sacrifice
immolator noun

More from Merriam-Webster on immolate

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