de·​mol·​ish | \ di-ˈmä-lish How to pronounce demolish (audio) \
demolished; demolishing; demolishes

Definition of demolish

transitive verb

1a : tear down, raze demolish a building
b : to break to pieces : smash His car was demolished in the accident.
2a : to do away with : destroy a filibuster which would effectively demolish the issueCurrent Biography … a performance so awkward and apathetic it instantly appeared to demolish any chance of restoring her declining career …— Dave Itzkoff
b : to strip of any pretense of merit or credence demolished her debate opponents demolish a stereotype

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Other Words from demolish

demolisher noun
demolishment \ di-​ˈmä-​lish-​mənt How to pronounce demolish (audio) \ noun

Examples of demolish in a Sentence

The old factory was demolished to make way for a new parking lot. Tons of explosives were used to demolish the building. The town hopes to restore the old theater rather than have it demolished. The car was demolished in the accident. They demolished the other team 51–7.
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Recent Examples on the Web Under that plan, authorities can demolish or sell off public housing to private buyers. WSJ, 26 June 2021 But Trott and Anderson voted with the majority to allow the Bridgeworks developers to demolish a portion of the county structures on the site, a 1963 building that formerly housed the county’s bridge testing lab. Steven Litt, cleveland, 9 Apr. 2021 The closure will allow crews to demolish the old connector ramps from the Loop to I-69. Jay R. Jordan, Chron, 5 Mar. 2021 The 53-hour project, which will detour motorists on alternate routes for hours, will allow crews to demolish a bridge as part of a widening project for the freeway. Brian Edwards, Scientific American, 15 July 2011 The city’s Planning Commission last week voted 4-1, with one member absent, to approve the proposal, which would demolish the two-story, 4,763-square-foot building on Bridgeway, the city’s prime retail corridor along the bay. Annie Vainshtein, San Francisco Chronicle, 30 Sep. 2021 Rather than demolish the historic bridge, it was put up for sale at auction. Roger Naylor, The Arizona Republic, 29 Sep. 2021 Amazon and Walmart notably have struggled to find ways of delivering groceries that don't also demolish profits. Phil Wahba, Fortune, 10 Sep. 2021 The town would have to buy the property and demolish the current structure. Jesse Leavenworth,, 8 Sep. 2021

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

1570, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for demolish

borrowed from Middle French demolir, extended stem demoliss- (with final conformed to earlier English verbs with the same ending, as nourish, perish), borrowed from Latin dēmōlīrī, dēmōlīre "to throw off, pull down, raze," from dē- de- + mōlīrī "to labor to bring about, strive, build, construct." probably derivative of mōlēs "large mass, massive structure, effort, exertion" — more at mole entry 4

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Time Traveler for demolish

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The first known use of demolish was in 1570

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Last Updated

21 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Demolish.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for demolish



English Language Learners Definition of demolish

: to destroy (a building, bridge, etc.) : to forcefully tear down or take apart (a structure)
: to damage (something) so that it cannot be repaired
: to eat all of (something) quickly


de·​mol·​ish | \ di-ˈmä-lish How to pronounce demolish (audio) \
demolished; demolishing

Kids Definition of demolish

1 : to destroy by breaking apart demolish a building
2 : to ruin completely : shatter He demolished the speed record.

More from Merriam-Webster on demolish

Nglish: Translation of demolish for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of demolish for Arabic Speakers


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