Definition of demolish in English:

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Pronunciation: /dɪˈmɒlɪʃ/


[with object]
1Pull or knock down (a building): the house was demolished to make way for the shopping centre
More example sentences
  • The plans comprise demolishing the pub and building seven three-bedroom houses, a four-storey block of eight, two-bedroom flats and a two-storey block with a flat and car park.
  • People living in Semington have given their support to a campaign to keep the village post office open, despite a planning application to demolish the building that houses it.
  • There are plans to demolish the Cathedral College buildings and rebuild a £15 million building with a performing arts centre which would open from September 2005.
knock down, pull down, tear down, bring down, destroy, flatten, raze, raze to the ground, level, reduce to ruins, bulldoze, break up, topple;
blow up, blow to bits/pieces, obliterate, annihilate, wipe off the face of the earth, wipe off the map;
dismantle, disassemble
North American informal total
dated throw down
rare unbuild
1.1Comprehensively refute (an argument or its proponent): I looked forward keenly to demolishing my opponent
More example sentences
  • The statistics are shocking - and they demolish any arguments put forward by the cynical pro-smoking lobby.
  • They must demolish an argument in court, and demonstrate to the audience - sorry, that should read ‘jury’ - that they have done so.
  • It completely demolishes the arguments used in favour of culling birds of prey.
destroy, ruin, wreck, put an end to, smash, crush, squelch, squash;
refute, disprove, prove wrong, discredit, overturn, explode, give the lie to, drive a coach and horses through
informal shoot full of holes, blow sky-high, blow out of the water, do for
1.2 informal Overwhelmingly defeat (a player or team): Arsenal demolished City 3-0
More example sentences
  • But defying team orders, Cunego demolished his team-mate on the road with a series of sensational stage rides and cruised to victory.
  • Further to that, was Kilkenny's ‘senior’ team not demolished by Kildare in the junior championship?
  • On Friday, the youth team was demolished 8-0 by the Czech Republic in Teplitze.
1.3British humorous Eat up (food) quickly: Brown was busy demolishing a sausage roll
More example sentences
  • Back at the ranch Bobby Joe was cooking up a feast of chilly dogs and all the trimmings and on return the golfers proceeded to demolish the food.
  • In no time we all filled our plates and demolished the food which was not bad for home cooking.
  • Not the mountainous dish I had anticipated, but they demolished the curry with enthusiasm, and felt pleasantly full afterwards.



Example sentences
  • And the demolishers have put up a small hand-written sign saying: ‘Windows, doors for sale’.
  • He did much to rescue Keighley's architectural heritage which was disappearing under the demolisher's hammer.
  • One of East London's most beautiful old buildings, the cream-coloured Barclays Bank on the corner of Oxford and Union Streets, will soon fall to the demolishers ' quick and ruthless tools.


Mid 16th century: from French démoliss-, lengthened stem of démolir, from Latin demoliri, from de- (expressing reversal) + moliri 'construct' (from moles 'mass').

  • mole from Old English:

    English has several unrelated words spelled mole. The oldest refers to a small blemish on the skin; in Old English this meant ‘a discoloured spot on cloth’. Next to appear was the mole that now means ‘a structure serving as a pier, breakwater, or causeway’, which goes back to Latin moles ‘mass’ (the earliest sense in English) which also lies behind demolish (mid 16th century). The mole that is a burrowing animal stayed underground until the later Middle Ages, and went under other names before then—in Old English it was a want, and then also a mouldwarp. The novels of John le Carré popularized the term mole for a spy who gradually achieves an important position within the security defences of a country: it first appeared in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy in 1974. The world of espionage seems to have adopted the use from le Carré, rather than vice versa. See also mountain

Words that rhyme with demolish

abolish, spit-and-polish

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: de|mol|ish

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