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

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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 The lack of teachers volunteering could nullify an agreement between the union and district officials to pay all teachers a $2,000 stipend. Jill Tucker, San Francisco Chronicle, "Some Oakland schools won't reopen as planned after teachers opt not to return early: 'Very frustrated'," 25 Mar. 2021 In a poll taken last month by Scott Rasmussen, adults opposed — by 64 percent to 30 percent — Democratic attempts in their H.R. 1 election bill to effectively nullify state laws requiring photo ID. John Fund, National Review, "IDs for a Vaccine Shot, but Not for Voting?," 21 Mar. 2021 Wichita State must be locked in defensively across the board to nullify these, otherwise the Bulldogs will generate a flurry of easy buckets and quickly run away with the game. Alex Kay, Forbes, "March Madness Bracket Predictions 2021: Odds, Picks For Michigan State Vs. UCLA And Other First Four Games," 18 Mar. 2021 Legislation in at least a dozen states seeks to nullify any new restrictions, such as ammunition limits or a ban on certain types of weapons. Lindsay Whitehurst,, "As gun sales set records nationwide, GOP state lawmakers seek to nullify federal gun limits," 4 Mar. 2021 The Rental Housing Association’s lawsuit did not challenge Seattle’s ongoing moratorium on evictions during the pandemic but instead sought to nullify three laws that would affect eviction proceedings after the moratorium ends. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, "RoboCop, Jimmy Carter, Amtrak: News from around our 50 states," 26 Feb. 2021 The measures would prevent local governments from prohibiting natural gas fracking, nullify solar permitting ordinances, end renewable energy grant programs and eliminate county authority over pipelines along roadways. John Haughey, Washington Examiner, "Despite opposition, Florida Senate panel OKs energy infrastructure preemption bill," 10 Mar. 2021 On the Senate side, Sen. Ted Cruz was one of two leaders of the effort to nullify Biden’s victory, along with Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley. Todd J. Gillman, Dallas News, "One third of Texas Republicans support the Capitol riot, UH poll finds," 4 Feb. 2021 One of the players’ other complaints in the Athletic's report was that Mourinho focuses too much of his training on plans to nullify the opposition. Joshua Law, Forbes, "The Cases For And Against Tottenham Sacking Mourinho - And Why It Is Unlikely To Happen," 28 Feb. 2021

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.

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First Known Use of nullify

1607, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for nullify

Late Latin nullificare, from Latin nullus

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Time Traveler for nullify

Time Traveler

The first known use of nullify was in 1607

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Statistics for nullify

Last Updated

10 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Nullify.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for nullify



English Language Learners Definition of nullify

: to make (something) legally null
: to cause (something) to lose its value or to have no effect


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

Legal Definition of nullify

: to make null nullify a contract

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Comments on nullify

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