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verb (used with object)
  1. to destroy or ruin (a building or other structure), especially on purpose; tear down; raze.
  2. to put an end to; destroy; explode: The results of his research demolished many theories.
  3. to lay waste to; ruin utterly: The fire demolished the area.
  4. Informal. to devour completely: We simply demolished that turkey.

Origin of demolish

1560–70; < Middle French démoliss-, stem of démolir < Latin dēmōlīrī to destroy, equivalent to dē- de- + mōlīrī to set in motion, struggle (mōl(ēs) mass, bulk + -īrī infinitive suffix)
Related formsde·mol·ish·er, nounde·mol·ish·ment, nounhalf-de·mol·ished, adjectiveun·de·mol·ished, adjective

Synonyms for demolish

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Synonym study

1. See destroy. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for demolish


verb (tr)
  1. to tear down or break up (buildings, etc)
  2. to destroy; put an end to (an argument, etc)
  3. facetious to eat upshe demolished the whole cake!
Derived Formsdemolisher, noundemolishment, noun

Word Origin for demolish

C16: from French démolir, from Latin dēmōlīrī to throw down, destroy, from de- + mōlīrī to strive, toil, construct, from mōles mass, bulk
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 demolish

1560s, from Middle French demoliss-, present participle stem of démolir "to destroy, tear down" (late 14c.), from Latin demoliri "tear down," from de- "down" (see de-) + moliri "build, construct," from moles (genitive molis) "massive structure" (see mole (n.3)). Related: Demolished; demolishing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper