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

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 That includes whether a pass was tipped at the line — which would nullify interference — or, notably, who did the interfering. Matt Kawahara, SFChronicle.com, "NFL coaches, players brace for new pass interference rule," 5 Sep. 2019 Offsetting penalties, a hold on TE C.J. Uzomah and a lowering the head to initiate contact call on Washington S Montae Nicholson, nullified Joe Mixon’s best run of the night. Tyler Dragon, Cincinnati.com, "What we learned from the Cincinnati Bengals' 23-13 win over the Washington Redskins," 16 Aug. 2019 However, these defenders nullify the members’ dignity by discounting their agency. George Will, Twin Cities, "George Will: ‘National conservatism’ is ‘Elizabeth Warren conservatism’," 11 Aug. 2019 However, these defenders nullify the members’ dignity by discounting their agency. George F. Will, The Denver Post, "Will: “National conservatism” is “Elizabeth Warren conservatism”," 11 Aug. 2019 Unfortunately for the pass rusher and Kansas City, his penalty -- a neutral-zone infraction -- nullified a Chiefs’ interception with 54 seconds to play. Mark Inabinett | Minabinett@al.com, al, "Dee Ford makes debut in annual ‘Top 100 Players’," 25 July 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

13 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

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

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

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

suitable to be imparted to the public

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Where in the World? A Quiz

  • peter bruegel tower of babel painting
  • What language does pajama come from?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!