[nuhl-uh-fi-key-shuh n]


an act or instance of nullifying.
the state of being nullified.
(often initial capital letter) the failure or refusal of a U.S. state to aid in enforcement of federal laws within its limits, especially on Constitutional grounds.

Nearby words

  1. nulla-nulla,
  2. nullah,
  3. nullarbor plain,
  4. nulli secundus,
  5. nulli-,
  6. nullifidian,
  7. nullify,
  8. nulligravida,
  9. nulling,
  10. nullipara

Origin of nullification

1620–30; < Late Latin nūllificātiōn- (stem of nūllificātiō) contempt, equivalent to nūllificāt(us) (past participle of nūllificāre to despise) + -iōn- -ion. See nullify

Related formsnul·li·fi·ca·tion·ist, nul·li·fi·ca·tor, nounnon·nul·li·fi·ca·tion, nounre·nul·li·fi·ca·tion, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for nullification

Word Origin and History for nullification



in U.S. political sense of "a state's refusing to allow a federal law to be enforced," 1798, in Thomas Jefferson; from Late Latin nullificationem (nominative nullificatio) "a making as nothing," from past participle stem of nullificare (see nullify). Related: Nullificationist.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Culture definitions for nullification


The doctrine that states can set aside federal laws. Urged in the late 1820s by John C. Calhoun, nullification precipitated a crisis between Calhoun and President Andrew Jackson. The doctrine was foreshadowed by Thomas Jefferson's draft of the Kentucky Resolutions. (See Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions.)

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.