Abolish A*bol"ish, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Abolished}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Abolishing}.] [F. abolir, L. abolere, aboletum; ab + olere to grow. Cf. {Finish}.] 1. To do away with wholly; to annul; to make void; -- said of laws, customs, institutions, governments, etc.; as, to abolish slavery, to abolish folly. [1913 Webster]

2. To put an end to, or destroy, as a physical objects; to wipe out. [Archaic] [1913 Webster]

And with thy blood abolish so reproachful blot. --Spenser. [1913 Webster]

His quick instinctive hand Caught at the hilt, as to abolish him. --Tennyson. [1913 Webster]

Syn: To {Abolish}, {Repeal}, {Abrogate}, {Revoke}, {Annul}, {Nullify}, {Cancel}.

Usage: These words have in common the idea of setting aside by some overruling act. Abolish applies particularly to things of a permanent nature, such as institutions, usages, customs, etc.; as, to abolish monopolies, serfdom, slavery. Repeal describes the act by which the legislature of a state sets aside a law which it had previously enacted. Abrogate was originally applied to the repeal of a law by the Roman people; and hence, when the power of making laws was usurped by the emperors, the term was applied to their act of setting aside the laws. Thus it came to express that act by which a sovereign or an executive government sets aside laws, ordinances, regulations, treaties, conventions, etc. Revoke denotes the act of recalling some previous grant which conferred, privilege, etc.; as, to revoke a decree, to revoke a power of attorney, a promise, etc. Thus, also, we speak of the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. Annul is used in a more general sense, denoting simply to make void; as, to annul a contract, to annul an agreement. Nullify is an old word revived in this country, and applied to the setting of things aside either by force or by total disregard; as, to nullify an act of Congress. Cancel is to strike out or annul, by a deliberate exercise of power, something which has operative force. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • abolish — abolish, annihilate, extinguish, abate share the meaning to make nonexistent. Abolish seldom refers to purely physical objects but rather to such things as are the outgrowth of law, custom, human conception, or the conditions of human existence… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • abolish — abol·ish vt: to end the observance or effect of: annul Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of Law. Merriam Webster. 1996. abolish …   Law dictionary

  • abolish — a‧bol‧ish [əˈbɒlɪʆ ǁ əˈbɑː ] verb [transitive] LAW to officially end a law, a system for doing something, an organization etc, especially one that has existed for a long time: • Inheritance tax in Bulgaria was abolished in 2005. abolition noun… …   Financial and business terms

  • abolish — [ə bäl′ish] vt. [ME abolisshen < OFr aboliss , extended stem of abolir < L abolescere, to decay little by little, inceptive of abolere, to retard, destroy: formed, with ab , from, to contrast with adolere, to increase, grow] to do away with …   English World dictionary

  • abolish — (v.) mid 15c., from M.Fr. aboliss , prp. stem of abolir to abolish (15c.), from L. abolere destroy, cause to die out, retard the growth of, from ab from (see AB (Cf. ab )) + adolere to grow, from PIE *ol eye , causative of root *al to …   Etymology dictionary

  • abolish — [v] do away with or put an end to abate, abrogate, annihilate, annul, call off, cancel, destroy, disestablish, dissolve, end, eradicate, erase, expunge, extinguish, extirpate, finish, inhibit, invalidate, kill, negate, nix, nullify, obliterate,… …   New thesaurus

  • abolish — ► VERB ▪ formally put an end to (a practice or institution). ORIGIN Latin abolere destroy …   English terms dictionary

  • abolish — abolishable, adj. abolisher, n. abolishment, n. /euh bol ish/, v.t. to do away with; put an end to; annul; make void: to abolish slavery. [1425 75; late ME < MF aboliss , long s. of abolir < L abolere to destroy, efface, put an end to; change of… …   Universalium

  • abolish — 01. The death penalty was [abolished] in this country about 50 years ago. 02. Hitting children as punishment for bad behavior was [abolished] in schools when I was a child. 03. The government has passed a law [abolishing] prayer in public schools …   Grammatical examples in English

  • abolish — I (New American Roget s College Thesaurus) v. t. annul, cancel, abrogate; exterminate, wipe out. See nullification, destruction. Ant., establish, reinstate. II (Roget s IV) v. Syn. suppress, eradicate, terminate, exterminate, obliterate, do away… …   English dictionary for students

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