ex·​tinc·​tion | \ ik-ˈstiŋ(k)-shən How to pronounce extinction (audio) \

Definition of extinction

1 : the act of making extinct or causing to be extinguished
2 : the condition or fact of being extinct or extinguished also : the process of becoming extinct extinction of a species
3 : the process of eliminating or reducing a conditioned response by not reinforcing it

Examples of extinction in a Sentence

the extinction of all life in the region the extinction of many old traditions Mass extinctions of prehistoric animals are known to have occurred.
Recent Examples on the Web Emperor penguins are at risk of extinction, according to conservationists and researchers. Julia Musto, Fox News, 7 May 2022 With such a small population left, researchers focused on conservation efforts have questioned if vaquitas were at a greater risk of extinction due to inbreeding. Ashley Strickland, CNN, 7 May 2022 After being pushed to the brink of extinction, California condors have returned to a slice of Northern California habitat for the first time in 130 years. Los Angeles Times, 7 May 2022 Reptiles that face the greatest threat are turtles, with about 60 percent of species at risk of extinction, and crocodiles, with 50 percent. Margaret Osborne, Smithsonian Magazine, 4 May 2022 The study found, however, that reversing greenhouse gas emissions could reduce the risk of extinction by more than 70 percent. David Bressan, Forbes, 2 May 2022 Tropical waters would experience the greatest loss of biodiversity, while polar species are at the highest risk of extinction. Doyle Rice, USA TODAY, 28 Apr. 2022 More than a fifth of the world's reptiles are at risk of extinction in the coming decades due to human activity, according to a new study. Byjulia Jacobo, ABC News, 28 Apr. 2022 Spillback into these populations could be disastrous for the affected species, possibly even putting it at risk of extinction. Quanta Magazine, 27 Apr. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'extinction.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of extinction

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for extinction

Time Traveler

The first known use of extinction was in the 15th century

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Dictionary Entries Near extinction



extinction angle

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Statistics for extinction

Last Updated

12 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Extinction.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/extinction. Accessed 20 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for extinction


ex·​tinc·​tion | \ ik-ˈstiŋk-shən How to pronounce extinction (audio) \

Kids Definition of extinction

: the state of being, becoming, or making extinct


ex·​tinc·​tion | \ ik-ˈstiŋ(k)-shən How to pronounce extinction (audio) \

Medical Definition of extinction

1 : the process of becoming extinct the extinction of a species also : the condition or fact of being extinct
2 : the process of eliminating or reducing a conditioned response by not reinforcing it

More from Merriam-Webster on extinction

Nglish: Translation of extinction for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of extinction for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about extinction


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