Definition of annihilate in English:

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Pronunciation: /əˈnʌɪɪleɪt/


[with object]
1Destroy utterly; obliterate: a simple bomb of this type could annihilate them all a crusade to annihilate evil
More example sentences
  • Any one of these could destroy a city - annihilating hundreds of thousands of people in the process.
  • A three-month bombing campaign nearly annihilated the city, destroying its people and its wealth.
  • In the air, the US has concentrated its massive firepower on the Tora Bora area, using sophisticated bunker-busting bombs to seal or destroy caves and annihilate any opposition.
destroy, wipe out, obliterate, wipe off the face of the earth, wipe off the map, kill, slaughter, exterminate, eliminate, liquidate, eradicate, extinguish, finish off, erase, root out, extirpate
informal take out, rub out, snuff out, zap, waste
1.1Defeat utterly: the stronger force annihilated its opponent virtually without loss
More example sentences
  • Does the host team annihilate all opponents within three days and crush them by an innings or so?
  • Then, in 1986, the same year that Holmes was beaten by Michael Spinks, Tyson annihilated Trevor Berbick for the WBC crown.
  • Well don't bother annihilating them at the ballot box, just ban them instead.
2 Physics Convert (a subatomic particle) into radiant energy: a fraction of the mass of atomic nuclei is annihilated mesons are unstable because the quark and antiquark can annihilate each other
More example sentences
  • When a particle and antiparticle are brought together they annihilate each other, converting all of their mass and energy into a burst of electromagnetic radiation, and sometimes into other particles.
  • The prefix anti is appropriate because an electron and a positron can annihilate each other, disappearing in a burst of energy.
  • An important proof of the QCD theory is provided by the collisions between electrons and their antiparticles, positrons, with very high kinetic energy, when they annihilate each other.



Pronunciation: /əˈnʌɪəleɪtə/
Example sentences
  • The annihilator of the hereditary peers has succumbed to the trade union barons.
  • War is… a destroyer and annihilator, in short, as an evil that strikes all, victor as well as vanquished.
  • By expanding as Lord Siva, the Lord becomes the annihilator of the universe when needed.


Late Middle English (originally as an adjective meaning 'destroyed, annulled'): from late Latin annihilatus 'reduced to nothing', from the verb annihilare, from ad- 'to' + nihil 'nothing'. The sense 'destroy utterly' dates from the mid 16th century.

  • Hidden in the middle of annihilate is the Latin word nihil, meaning ‘nothing’, which is at the heart of the English word's meaning. Deriving in the 14th century from the Latin annihilatus ‘reduced to nothing’, it was first used as an adjective with the meaning ‘destroyed or annulled’. Nihil is also the source of nil (mid 16th century).

Words that rhyme with annihilate


For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: an¦ni¦hi|late

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