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

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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

Inevitably, a block in the back on Cethan Carter nullified it, but didn’t erase the celebration. Jim Owczarski, Cincinnati.com, "Cincinnati Bengals' end of season awards," 13 Jan. 2018 The Trump administration blocked Major League Baseball from signing players directly from Cuba to play professionally in the U.S., nullifying a historic deal the league struck in December with the island nation’s baseball federation. Vivian Salama, WSJ, "Trump Administration Blocks Baseball Players From Cuba," 8 Apr. 2019 And footage from his failed 2014 Senate bid shows him arguing that states have the right to nullify federal law, something constitutional experts disagree with. Rachel Withers, Vox, "Trump really wants you to think he doesn’t know Whitaker," 10 Nov. 2018 Against Dickson, Denver’s Adam Jones had just two returns for 9 yards (Jones did appear to have a return of 23 yards in the first quarter, but it was nullified by a holding penalty on Denver’s Keishawn Bierria, who played at UW). Bob Condotta, The Seattle Times, "Michael Dickson comes out booming punts and breaking records in Seahawks’ opener vs. Broncos," 10 Sep. 2018 Kenya's opposition claimed some commissioners in Kenya's six-member electoral authority were complicit in electoral fraud in the Aug. 8 election in which Uhuru Kenyatta was declared the winner but was then nullified by the Supreme Court. Fox News, "3 officials resign in Kenya's electoral body over poll probe," 16 Apr. 2018 Sometimes, the ball makes contact with the field in a way that doesn’t nullify the act of possessing it. Dan Wolken, USA TODAY, "NFL deserves disaster in Super Bowl LII with Calvin Johnson Rule on its last legs," 3 Feb. 2018 Kenya’s Supreme Court nullified the August election after Odinga claimed that hackers infiltrated the electoral commission’s computer system and changed results in favor of Kenyatta. Tom Odula, USA TODAY, "Kenyan opposition leader ‘sworn in;' event called treason," 30 Jan. 2018 Guidance documents have separately been under fire from Republicans in Congress, which nullified the consumer bureau’s guidelines on indirect auto lending earlier this year. Ryan Tracy, WSJ, "Banks Push for Regulators to Ease Up on Them," 6 Nov. 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

12 May 2019

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 How to pronounce nullify (audio) \
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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