nullify

verb
nul·​li·​fy | \ˈnə-lə-ˌfī \
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

Voting Rights: Congress could nullify Shelby County v. Holder by revising the Voting Rights Act pre-clearance authority. Gregory Koger, Vox, "How a Democratic Congress can push back against the Supreme Court," 12 Nov. 2018 That is when Prime Minister Narendra Modi nullified India’s largest-denomination notes to curb corruption, triggering a cash crunch. Newley Purnell, WSJ, "India’s Top Payments App Faces Challenge From Google and WhatsApp," 12 Nov. 2018 China threatened to impose retaliatory tariffs and said that any progress in negotiations with the U.S. were nullified. Arizona Republic, azcentral, "News stories you may have missed during family separations uproar," 22 June 2018 But four years ago, Amendment 1—a proposal that, some have argued, purposefully used confusing language—passed, nullifying this constitutional right. Beca Grimm, Marie Claire, "Getting an Abortion Can Be Lonely. These People Will Hold Your Hand.," 11 Sep. 2018 Within a month of taking office, for example, Trump signed a law nullifying an Obama-era rule prohibiting coal mining companies from dumping waste into streams and waterways. Brooks Jackson, Philly.com, "Trump's Numbers (Second Quarterly Update) | FactCheck," 11 July 2018 To resolve this tension, congressional Republicans hope to pass a narrow piece of legislation that would nullify that decades-old court ruling, and shore up the administration’s powers to detain migrant families. Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "Trump Could Enforce the Border Without Locking Up Families," 25 June 2018 Wiener’s measure, SB 822, would restore some of the rules and regulations nullified by the FCC under Pai. Michael Hiltzik, latimes.com, "Internet providers' big money leaves a California net neutrality bill 'eviscerated'," 21 June 2018 The European Union is also considering legislation to nullify the effects of Trump’s sanctions on E.U. companies for engaging in transactions with Iran. Robin Wright, The New Yorker, "The End of the Iran Deal and Trump’s New, Confrontational Foreign Policy," 13 May 2018

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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Statistics for nullify

Last Updated

8 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for nullify

The first known use of nullify was in 1607

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More Definitions for nullify

nullify

verb

English Language Learners Definition of nullify

: to make (something) legally null

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

nullify

transitive verb
nul·​li·​fy | \ˈnə-lə-ˌfī \
nullified; nullifying

Legal Definition of nullify 

: to make null nullify a contract

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More from Merriam-Webster on nullify

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with nullify

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for nullify

Spanish Central: Translation of nullify

Nglish: Translation of nullify for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of nullify for Arabic Speakers

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