[ dem-uh-lish-uh n, dee-muh- ]
/ ˌdɛm əˈlɪʃ ən, ˌdi mə- /


an act or instance of demolishing.
the state of being demolished; destruction.
destruction or demolishment by explosives.
demolitions, explosives, especially as used in war.


of, relating to, or working with explosives: A demolition squad attempted to blow up the bridge before the enemy captured it.
of or relating to tearing down or demolishing: Demolition work had begun on the old building.

Origin of demolition

1540–50; < Latin dēmōlītiōn- (stem of dēmōlītiō), equivalent to dēmōlīt(us) (past participle of dēmōlīrī; see demolish) + -iōn- -ion
Related formsdem·o·li·tion·ist, nounnon·dem·o·li·tion, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for demolition

British Dictionary definitions for demolition


/ (ˌdɛməˈlɪʃən, ˌdiː-) /


the act of demolishing or state of being demolished
mainly military
  1. destruction by explosives
  2. (as modifier)a demolition charge
Derived Formsdemolitionist, noun, adjective
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 demolition



1540s, from Old French demolition (14c.) "demolition; defeat, rout," from Latin demolitionem (nominative demolitio), noun of action from past participle stem of demoliri (see demolish). Mencken noted demolition engineer for "house-wrecker" by 1936. Demolition derby is recorded from 1956, American English, defined by OED as "a contest in which old cars are battered into one another, the last one running being declared the winner."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper