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

  • transitive v. To put out (a fire, for example); quench.
  • transitive v. To put an end to (hopes, for example); destroy. See Synonyms at abolish.
  • transitive v. To obscure; eclipse.
  • transitive v. Law To settle or discharge (a debt).
  • transitive v. Law To nullify: extinguished their title to the property.
  • transitive v. Psychology To bring about the extinction of (a conditioned response).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. to put out, as in fire; to end burning; to quench
  • v. to destroy or abolish something
  • v. to obscure or eclipse something
  • v. to bring about the extinction of a conditioned reflex
  • v. to hunt down (a species) to extinction

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To quench; to put out, as a light or fire; to stifle; to cause to die out; to put an end to; to destroy.
  • transitive v. To obscure; to eclipse, as by superior splendor.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To put out; quench; stifle: as, to extinguish fire or flame.
  • To destroy; put an end to; suppress: as, to extinguish an army; to extinguish desire or hope; to extinguish a claim or title.
  • To put under a cloud; obscure: eclipse; make unnoticed or unnoticeable: as, he was completely extinguished in this brilliant company.
  • In law, to put an end to. See extinguishment, 2.

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

  • v. put out, as of fires, flames, or lights
  • v. put an end to; kill
  • v. terminate, end, or take out
  • v. kill in large numbers
  • v. extinguish by crushing


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

Latin exstinguere : ex-, intensive pref.; see ex- + stinguere, to quench; see steig- in Indo-European roots.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin extinguo, past participle extinctus ("to put out (what is burning), quench, extinguish, deprive of life, destory, abolish"), from ex ("out") + stinguere ("to put out, quench, extinguish").


  • Does not a little word extinguish all pleasures of that sort?


  • By taking Reid's comments about President Obama out of context, we do ourselves an injustice -- the same injustice we do when we want to "extinguish" racist comments.

    Srinivasan Pillay: The Reid Comments: The Double-Edged Sword of Racial Insensitivity

  • Nothing and no-one told me that because education was compulsary, I should therefore "extinguish" the amount of voluntary learning I did outside of school hours.

    Mind the Gap by Ferdinand Mount

  • On Tuesday the court heard that former president Nelson Mandela also offered to "extinguish" Zuma's debt because he feared that Zuma's financial problems were "distracting him from his duties at the ANC".

    ANC Daily News Briefing

  • By law, local authorities were not allowed to "extinguish" housing debt, and was compelled to collect all monies due and payable.

    ANC Daily News Briefing

  • As a matter of curiosity, I should like to see the man 'extinguish' himself by stepping forward and telling us in plain English language, had he been a member of the Legislature, would he have voted against the people expressing their opinion upon the subject.

    The Beginnings of Public Education in North Carolina; A Documentary History, 1790-1840. Vol. II

  • But if they don't like the look of their match, they can 'extinguish' the spark, without sharing anything.

    iac world news feed

  • If the petition reaches that stage, the committee must decide whether to submit a bill to the legislature that would "extinguish" the HST and pay back all the extra money collected under it, or stage a province-wide referendum on the measure.

    Kootenay Rockies - News

  • He now tries to woo Lib Dem voters and MPs, not "extinguish" them.

    The Guardian World News

  • The 1997 Supreme Court of Canada decision in favour of the Gitxsan (known as the Delgamuukw decision) rejected B. C.'s effort to "extinguish" aboriginal title.

    Kootenay Rockies - News


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