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 high court is scheduled to hear a case in November brought by Republican state officials, and supported by the Trump administration, that seeks to nullify the entire law. Fortune, "The COVID economic downturn is testing the promise of the ACA safety net," 7 Oct. 2020 Size gives him problems, but Grant uses his quickness and athleticism to help nullify that disadvantage. Duane Rankin, The Arizona Republic, "Phoenix Suns: Is Fred VanVleet or Jerami Grant better fit?," 7 Oct. 2020 Spokesperson Max Reiss said Monday that, after the governor’s announcement, legislative leaders will have 72 hours to nullify the extension. Emily Brindley,, "After extension, Gov. Ned Lamont will have emergency powers to close businesses, limit gatherings until February 2021," 31 Aug. 2020 Morgan Philpot, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, has asked a judge to nullify all state executive orders related to the coronavirus. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, "Student rallies, high school pay-per-view, $500 tips: News from around our 50 states," 10 Sep. 2020 In the letter, Fasano and Klarides urged Lamont to give legislators the ability to nullify any new executive orders within 72 hours of their signing. Emily Brindley,, "Daily coronavirus updates: Gov. Ned Lamont extends COVID-19 state of emergency in Connecticut," 1 Sep. 2020 The Trump Admin passed rule to nullify IL’s clean energy program that supported nuclear power plants like Byron & Dresden. Lisa Donovan,, "The Spin: Trump, surrogates take law-and-order message to the ’burbs | State exceeds 1 million mark for mail-in ballots | How Kenosha could shape election," 28 Aug. 2020 General Motors, Toyota, and Fiat Chrysler have all sided with the Trump administration's efforts to nullify CARB's ability to regulate pollution, in favor of its own weakened standards. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "In face of federal inaction, California gets five automakers to cut CO2," 19 Aug. 2020 But, again, gross negligence generally would nullify the waiver, regardless of how it is written, Bell says. Jason Hanna, CNN, "Vacation spots, salons and youth sports leagues want people to sign coronavirus waivers. Here's what to know," 15 Aug. 2020

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

18 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Nullify.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for nullify


How to pronounce nullify (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of nullify

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