Definition of extinguish in English:


Syllabification: ex·tin·guish
Pronunciation: /ikˈstiNGgwiSH


[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, stamp out, smother, beat out
  • 1.1Put an end to; annihilate: 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, bring to an end, terminate, remove, annihilate, wipe out, erase, eliminate, eradicate, obliterate
    informal take out, rub out
  • 1.2Cancel (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.
  • 1.3 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.



More 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.


( Law )
More 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.

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a slit made by cutting with a saw