nullify

verb
nul·​li·​fy | \ ˈnə-lə-ˌfī How to pronounce nullify (audio) \
nullified; nullifying

Definition of nullify

transitive verb

1 : to make null (see null entry 1 sense 1) especially : to make legally null and void nullify a law
2 : to make of no value or consequence (see consequence sense 3) a promise later nullified

Keep scrolling for more

Choose the Right Synonym for nullify

nullify, negate, annul, abrogate, invalidate mean to deprive of effective or continued existence. nullify implies counteracting completely the force, effectiveness, or value of something. a penalty nullified the touchdown negate implies the destruction or canceling out of each of two things by the other. the arguments negate each other annul suggests making ineffective or nonexistent often by legal or official action. the treaty annuls all previous agreements abrogate is like annul but more definitely implies a legal or official act. a law to abrogate trading privileges invalidate implies making something powerless or unacceptable by declaration of its logical or moral or legal unsoundness. the court invalidated the statute

Did You Know?

A legislature may nullify a ban, a law, or a tax by simply passing a new law. Election results can be nullified if a court finds the voting process was improper, and a court ruling can be nullified by a higher court. Even the Supreme Court itself may have its decisions nullified by new laws passed by the Congress—though not if a decision is based on the Constitution. In the years leading up to the American Civil War, Southern states claimed the right to nullify any federal law (such as antislavery laws) that they believed to be unconstitutional, leading to the Nullification Crisis of 1832. Annul is a close synonym of nullify (with the same root), as are abrogate and invalidate.

Examples of nullify in a Sentence

The law has been nullified by the U.S. Supreme Court. The penalty nullified the goal.
Recent Examples on the Web State election officials had nullified the results of the 2018 race, citing details of election fraud to boost Republican Mark Harris over Democrat Dan McCready. Nicholas Wu, USA TODAY, "Trump-backed Republican Dan Bishop narrowly wins in North Carolina special election," 11 Sep. 2019 The fact that this is a civil matter does not nullify its importance, but a civil lawsuit should not be regarded as the equivalent of a criminal charge. Michael Mccann, SI.com, "Inside the Federal Lawsuit Filed Against Antonio Brown for Rape and Sexual Assault," 11 Sep. 2019 Days later, Ruiz’s victory in Boston was also nullified. Richard Sandomir, New York Times, "Rosie Ruiz, Who Faked Victory in Boston Marathon, Dies at 66," 8 Aug. 2019 The bill nullified ordinances already in effect in cities such as Cleveland, which had enacted a ban assault weapons. Evan Macdonald, cleveland.com, "Dayton and all other Ohio cities are prohibited by state law from enacting gun-control legislation," 4 Aug. 2019 The bill Lamont vetoed would have permitted employers to pay the lower tipped wage for all hours of an employee’s shift and could have nullified the pending lawsuits. Russell Blair, courant.com, "Capitol Week in Review: Himes vs. Mueller; Hartford Democrats back Bronin," 26 July 2019 Users may adopt a behavior that nullifies any anticipated health effect based on lab tests. Risa Robinson, CNN, "The way you vape could make it even more dangerous," 16 Sep. 2019 Users may adopt a behavior that nullifies any anticipated health effect based on lab tests. Risa Robinson, The Conversation, "How a person vapes, not just what a person vapes, could also play a big role in vaping harm," 13 Sep. 2019 In 2019, however, Heller is in a precarious situation: There have been numerous victories for gun rights, but many lower courts have in practice nullified the Second Amendment. David B. Kopel, National Review, "Heller’s Precarious Situation," 12 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'nullify.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of nullify

1607, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for nullify

Late Latin nullificare, from Latin nullus

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about nullify

Statistics for nullify

Last Updated

27 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for nullify

The first known use of nullify was in 1607

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for nullify

nullify

verb
How to pronounce nullify (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of nullify

: to make (something) legally null
: to cause (something) to lose its value or to have no effect
nul·​li·​fy | \ ˈnə-lə-ˌfī How to pronounce nullify (audio) \
nullified; nullifying

Legal Definition of nullify

: to make null nullify a contract

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on nullify

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for nullify

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with nullify

Spanish Central: Translation of nullify

Nglish: Translation of nullify for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of nullify for Arabic Speakers

Comments on nullify

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

WORD OF THE DAY

the exactly right word or phrasing

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Pass the Little Ribbons: A Pasta Word Quiz

  • rotelle pasta
  • Match the pasta to its meaning in English: Rotelle
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!