Definition of extinction in English:


Syllabification: ex·tinc·tion
Pronunciation: /ikˈstiNG(k)SHən


  • 1The state or process of a species, family, or larger group being or becoming extinct: the extinction of the great auk mass extinctions
    More example sentences
    • Marine fossil evidence tells of numerous extinctions, global mass extinction, and geochemical events.
    • There have been five major mass extinctions and more than 20 minor mass extinctions.
    • We're facing critical mass extinctions across a whole variety of ecosystems once the two degree level has been crossed, from coral reefs to rainforests.
    dying out, disappearance, vanishing; extermination, destruction, elimination, eradication, annihilation
  • 1.1The wiping out of a debt.
    More example sentences
    • The principle of automatic extinction of the claim/debt on confusion has adverse consequences in the capital markets.
    • The policy of Immediate debt extinction was initiated by Gallalin.
  • 2 Physics Reduction in the intensity of light or other radiation as it passes through a medium or object, due to absorption, reflection, and scattering: ultraviolet extinction
    More example sentences
    • The concentration was employed to transform the experimentally obtained absorption into extinction coefficient spectra.
    • The pattern of turnover within a stage is important for understanding the mechanisms of radiation and extinction.
    • Will improved classification schemes allow better understanding of extinction and radiation events?


late Middle English: from Latin exstinctio(n-), from exstinguere 'quench' (see extinguish).

More definitions of extinction

Definition of extinction in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day coloratura
Pronunciation: ˌkələrəˈto͝orə
elaborate ornamentation of a vocal melody