verb nul·li·fy \ ˈnə-lə-ˌfī \
|Updated on: 18 Aug 2018

Definition of nullify

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

Examples of nullify in a Sentence

  1. The law has been nullified by the U.S. Supreme Court.

  2. The penalty nullified the goal.

Recent Examples of nullify from the Web

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.

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.

Origin and Etymology of nullify

Late Latin nullificare, from Latin nullus

Synonym Discussion of 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

NULLIFY Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of nullify for English Language Learners

  • : to make (something) legally null

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

Law Dictionary


transitive verb nul·li·fy \ ˈnə-lə-ˌfī \

legal Definition of nullify

nullified; nullifying
: to make null
  • nullify a contract

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