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[ik-sting-gwish] /ɪkˈstɪŋ gwɪʃ/
verb (used with object)
to put out (a fire, light, etc.); put out the flame of (something burning or lighted):
to extinguish a candle.
to put an end to or bring to an end; wipe out of existence; annihilate:
to extinguish hope.
to obscure or eclipse, as by superior brilliance.
Law. to discharge (a debt), as by payment.
Origin of extinguish
1535-45; < Latin ex(s)tingu(ere) (ex- ex-1 + stinguere to quench) + -ish2
Related forms
extinguishable, adjective
extinguishment, noun
nonextinguishable, adjective
nonextinguished, adjective
preextinguish, verb (used with object)
preextinguishment, noun
self-extinguishing, adjective
unextinguishable, adjective
unextinguished, adjective
1. quench, smother, snuff out, blow out.
1. light, ignite. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for extinguish
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I sprang to my feet and took immediate measures to extinguish the flames.

    Brave and Bold Horatio Alger
  • It would be well to extinguish the fire, and have a watch—listen!

    The Last of the Mohicans James Fenimore Cooper
  • The villagers were summoned to extinguish fires by ringing of bells.

    English Villages P. H. Ditchfield
  • Jealousy evermore blows the flame it seems formed to extinguish.

    Imogen William Godwin
  • But should a “holy alliance of legitimates” extinguish it, it will be but for a season.

    Chronicles of Border Warfare Alexander Scott Withers
British Dictionary definitions for extinguish


verb (transitive)
to put out or quench (a light, flames, etc)
to remove or destroy entirely; annihilate
(archaic) to eclipse or obscure by or as if by superior brilliance
(law) to discharge (a debt)
Derived Forms
extinguishable, adjective
extinguisher, noun
extinguishment, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin exstinguere, from stinguere to quench
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for extinguish

c.1500 (implied in extinguishable), from Latin extinguere/exstinguere "quench, wipe out, obliterate," from ex- "out" (see ex-) + stinguere "quench," from PIE *steig- "to prick, stick, pierce." Related: Extinguished; extinguishing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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extinguish in Medicine

extinguish ex·tin·guish (ĭk-stĭng'gwĭsh)
n. ex·tin·guished, ex·tin·guish·ing, ex·tin·guish·es
To bring about the extinction of a conditioned response.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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