[ uh-nahy-uh-leyt ]
/ əˈnaɪ əˌleɪt /

verb (used with object), an·ni·hi·lat·ed, an·ni·hi·lat·ing.

to reduce to utter ruin or nonexistence; destroy utterly: The heavy bombing almost annihilated the city.
to destroy the collective existence or main body of; wipe out: to annihilate an army.
to annul; make void: to annihilate a law.
to cancel the effect of; nullify.
to defeat completely; vanquish: Our basketball team annihilated the visiting team.

Origin of annihilate

1350–1400; Middle English adnichilat(e) destroyed < Late Latin annihilātus brought to nothing, annihilated (past participle of annihilāre) (Latin an- an-2 + nihil nothing + -ātus -ate1)
Related formsan·ni·hi·la·tive [uh-nahy-uh-ley-tiv, ‐uh-luh‐] /əˈnaɪ əˌleɪ tɪv, ‐ə lə‐/, an·ni·hi·la·to·ry [uh-nahy-uh-luh-tawr-ee, ‐tohr-ee] /əˈnaɪ ə ləˌtɔr i, ‐ˌtoʊr i/, adjectiveun·an·ni·hi·lat·ed, adjectiveun·an·ni·hi·la·tive, adjectiveun·an·ni·hi·la·to·ry, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for annihilate

British Dictionary definitions for annihilate


/ (əˈnaɪəˌleɪt) /


(tr) to destroy completely; extinguish
(tr) informal to defeat totally, as in debate or argument
(intr) physics to undergo annihilation
Derived Formsannihilable (əˈnaɪələbəl), adjectiveannihilative, adjectiveannihilator, noun

Word Origin for annihilate

C16: from Late Latin annihilāre to bring to nothing, from Latin nihil nothing
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

Word Origin and History for annihilate



1520s, from an obsolete adjective meaning "reduced to nothing" (late 14c.), originally the past participle of a verb, anihil, from Old French annichiler (14c.), from Late Latin annihilare "to reduce to nothing," from Latin ad- "to" (see ad-) + nihil "nothing" (see nil). Related: Annihilated; annihilating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper