Definition of extinguish in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ɪkˈstɪŋɡwɪʃ/
Pronunciation: /ɛkˈstɪŋɡwɪʃ/


[with object]
1Cause (a fire or light) to cease to burn or shine: firemen were soaking everything to extinguish the blaze
More example sentences
  • I shrieked and jumped back, as he, laughing with amusement, murmured another set of words and a different ray of light extinguished the fire.
  • More than 200 firefighters from Arlington, Va., and other nearby towns, extinguished a fire that burned for nearly three days.
  • The fire is extinguished before it burns away the paper, leaving behind a dark residue.
douse, put out, quench, stamp out, smother, beat out, dampen down;
blow out, snuff out;
Scottish  dout
1.1Put an end to; destroy: hope is extinguished little by little
More example sentences
  • When we destroy ecosystems and extinguish species, we degrade the greatest heritage this planet has to offer and thereby threaten our own existence.
  • Elected dictatorships, which extinguish opposition, destroy the political process too.
  • North End's play-off hopes were all but extinguished by the only team doomed to relegation from the First Division so far - and a controversial handball.
destroy, end, finish off, put an end to, put a stop to, bring to an end, terminate, remove, annihilate, wipe out, wipe off the face of the earth, wipe off the map, erase, eliminate, eradicate, obliterate, liquidate, expunge, abolish, exterminate, kill, extirpate, obscure, suppress, disrupt, undo, upset
informal take out, rub out, snuff out
1.2Subdue or reduce (someone) to silence: a look which would have extinguished any man
More example sentences
  • I drove the sword into his chest, extinguishing him for good.
  • The shouting of her husband and daughter is extinguished.
  • They tried to kill me, to extinguish me completely, but I have only lost an arm.
1.3Cancel (a debt) by full payment: the debt was absolutely extinguished
More example sentences
  • Your final payment extinguishes your debt and you are mortgage-free - guaranteed.
  • I accept that there may be situations in which if a creditor unconditionally assigns the benefit of a debt to a debtor, he will thereby extinguish the debt.
  • However, the fact that the debt cannot be enforced by action does not mean that the debt is extinguished.
1.4 Law Render (a right or obligation) void: rights of common pasture were extinguished
More example sentences
  • Most periods of limitation do not extinguish the claimant's right but merely bar his remedy.
  • Their property rights are extinguished by this legislation.
  • But it extinguishes an obligation, and if the rule is valid and can apply it then imposes an obligation in the same terms on the defendant.



Pronunciation: /ɪkˈstɪŋɡwɪʃəb(ə)l/
Pronunciation: /ɛkˈstɪŋɡwɪʃəb(ə)l/
Example sentences
  • Although, in Mabo, Indigenous Australians won recognition of their traditional rights to land, the High Court by the narrowest majority (four to three) decided that these fragile rights were readily extinguishable.
  • Let's start with suggesting one might immediately start paying down any extinguishable floating rate debt.
  • The children tried to blow them out, but the candles weren't extinguishable.


Pronunciation: /ɪkˈstɪŋɡwɪʃm(ə)nt/
Pronunciation: /ɛkˈstɪŋɡwɪʃm(ə)nt/
noun ( Law )
Example sentences
  • It was referred to and is known as the White Paper Policy of 1969, which called for the extinguishment of the rights of the aboriginal people in the country.
  • ‘In general, it is very rare that we would consider an extinguishment anywhere, without being certain of an equivalent or alternative route,’ she said.
  • We submit that is a different sort of extinguishment.


Mid 16th century: from Latin exstinguere, from ex- 'out' + stinguere 'quench'. Compare with distinguish.

Words that rhyme with extinguish


For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: ex¦tin|guish

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.