Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To tear down completely; raze.
  • transitive v. To do away with completely; put an end to.
  • transitive v. To damage (someone's reputation, for example) severely. See Synonyms at ruin.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To destroy; to destruct
  • v. To utterly defeat

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To throw or pull down; to raze; to destroy the fabric of; to pull to pieces; to ruin.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To throw or pull down; destroy the structural character of, as a building or a wall; reduce to ruins.
  • To destroy in general; put an end to; ruin utterly; lay waste.
  • Synonyms Raze, Demolish. Raze, to level with the ground; demolish, to destroy by complete separation of parts. A house is razed when it is leveled, even if it largely holds together; it is demolished if torn to pieces, even if some parts of it stand in place.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. destroy completely
  • v. defeat soundly
  • v. humiliate or depress completely

Etymologies

French démolir, démoliss-, from Latin dēmōlīrī : dē-, de- + mōlīrī, to build (from mōlēs, mass).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Attested since the 16th Century CE; from Middle French demoliss-, the stem of some conjugated forms of the verb demolir ("to destroy”, “to tear down"), from Latin demolior ("to tear down"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Would destroy - as in demolish and concrete over - communities that have developed over centuries and vast swathes of unspoilt countryside and ancient woodlands and prime farmland.

    Heathrow-stock

  • Blendtec - a company that manufactures blenders and produces a series called demolish the iPad a few months back, which must have gone straight to the heart of a goodly number of Apple fanboys and girls.

    Original Signal - Transmitting Web 2.0

  • To "demolish" Behe's review of the malaria evidence, one would need to show evolution's ability to do much more with malaria than blow up bridges to foil adversarial attacks.

    Behe: ID rescues Common Descent

  • Chavez 'response to the alleged plotters is a brash "Bring it on!" and warns that, if they try, he'll "demolish" them ... obliterate them off the face of the earth!

    Fanatics who want to help that great "Christian," Pat Robertson to "eliminate" Chavez from the face of the earth!

  • In the piece, the Times painted her as the queen meenie in the fight among landlords to evict rent-regulated tenants in order to "demolish" read: convert to condos apartment buildings.

    Chumley's Dark, But Still Standing—For Now

  • But I find it profitable to pray and meditate on the mystery of Christ among us, and leave those who would "demolish" Him to their work.

    Keisha and Mary.

  • S. O'BRIEN: We've had some people say on our air that they think it's because poor black people live in the Lower 9th Ward and, you know, you kind of demolish the homes, you get rid of a bunch of people who are, in many cases, on the state's dole.

    CNN Transcript Jan 6, 2006

  • But it’s something else entirely when ordinary Americans, whose children dream of appearing in the national tour of Mamma Mia, agree to be dragged onto national TV to physically demolish a karaoke version of "Grease Is The Word."

    Your Mama Is Even Cooler When She Don’t Dance | Best Week Ever

  • Levy said: Accusations that we would 'demolish' £500million of stadium are hugely inaccurate and highly irresponsible and I want to be very clear on this issue.

    Evening Standard - Home

  • Spurs look to win backing for controversial plans to 'demolish' Olympic stadium

    Evening Standard - Home

Comments

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  • When the buildings we demolish,
    Have fallen to the ground,
    We stand aside, like someone died
    And wait for the polish.

    July 17, 2009