nul·​li·​ty | \ ˈnə-lə-tē How to pronounce nullity (audio) \
plural nullities

Definition of nullity

1a : the quality or state of being null especially : legal invalidity
b(1) : nothingness also : insignificance
(2) : a mere nothing : nonentity
2 : one that is null specifically : an act void of legal effect
3 : the number of elements in a basis of a null-space

Keep scrolling for more

Did You Know?

Intellectuals may speak of a book or a film as a nullity, claiming it possesses nothing original enough to justify its existence. Legal scholars also use the word; a law passed by a legislature may be called a nullity if, for example, it's so obviously unconstitutional that it's going to be shot down by the courts in no time. And if you're in an unkind mood, you're also free to call a person a nullity, if you're not instead calling him a nobody, a nonentity, or a zero.

Examples of nullity in a Sentence

that tiny country's ambassador from the U.S. is usually some nullity who happens to be a friend or supporter of the current president one of the basic themes of the theater of the absurd is the essential nullity of human existence
Recent Examples on the Web However, the implementation of the National Security Law in Hong Kong and the electoral-system revamp have rendered it a nullity. Aaron Rhodes, National Review, "How China Has Crushed Hong Kong’s Democracy," 18 Mar. 2021 Later antislavery champions, including Abraham Lincoln, always considered the Northwest Ordinance to be organic to the Constitution; proslavery advocates came to regard it as an illegitimate nullity. Sean Wilentz, The New York Review of Books, "What Tom Cotton Gets So Wrong About Slavery and the Constitution," 3 Aug. 2020 The digital presentation displays Arthur Rothstein’s 1936 photograph of a dust storm at a barren Oklahoma farm, picturing a father and sons against sky and earth scrubbed to gray nullities. New York Times, "2 Art Gallery Shows to Explore From Home," 22 Apr. 2020 While vodka is a surprisingly rich entity susceptible to analysis, its purported aim is a nullity. Sergio De La Pava, WSJ, "Can You Taste a City in a Bottle of Vodka?," 14 June 2018 Plaintiffs therefore lack standing, the Circuit Court lacks jurisdiction, and the order is a nullity. Connor Sheets,, "In final-hour order, court rules that Alabama can destroy digital voting records after all," 12 Dec. 2017 This dejecting gabble is even more pedestrian than the Hesychastic nullities of [Henri] Michaux. Michael Dirda, WSJ, "Review: W.M. Spackman’s Armful of Glittering Prose," 8 Dec. 2017 Wily Odysseus uses the answer as a successful stratagem to escape the Cyclops’ grasp, but, abandoned by the gods and his relatives and friends, Orestes confronts the reality of nullity. Steven G. Kellman, The Christian Science Monitor, "'House of Names' is Colm Tóibín's take on the House of Atreus," 9 June 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'nullity.' 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 nullity

1543, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about nullity

Time Traveler for nullity

Time Traveler

The first known use of nullity was in 1543

See more words from the same year

Statistics for nullity

Last Updated

31 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Nullity.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Apr. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for nullity


nul·​li·​ty | \ ˈnə-lə-tē How to pronounce nullity (audio) \
plural nullities

Legal Definition of nullity

1 : the quality or state of being null
2 : an act, proceeding, or contract void of legal effect — compare impediment
absolute nullity
in the civil law of Louisiana : a contract or act considered void by virtue of a transgression of the public order, interest, law, or morals a bigamous marriage is an absolute nullityLouisiana Civil Code also : the quality or state of such a nullity

Note: A marriage that is an absolute nullity does not have to be annulled to terminate its legal effects (as property rights).

relative nullity
in the civil law of Louisiana : a nullity that can be cured by confirmation because the object involved is considered valid also : the quality or state of such a nullity

Note: A contract that is a relative nullity may be annulled and the parties restored to their original positions. A marriage that is a relative nullity must be annulled to terminate the legal effects (as property rights) of the marriage.

More from Merriam-Webster on nullity

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for nullity

Nglish: Translation of nullity for Spanish Speakers

Comments on nullity

What made you want to look up nullity? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
True or False

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

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!