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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
▪ After a long and bloody battle the army succeeded in annihilating Seged's forces.
▪ In 1945 Japan was helpless, with its military power annihilated.
▪ Besides annihilating about 40,000 homes, the worst natural disaster in memory destroyed countless businesses and jobs.
▪ The nations were to be annihilated.
▪ The virus had annihilated all those who knew of Rassilon's great mistake.
▪ Will we use our technological brilliance to annihilate genetic diseases before they strike?
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Annihilate \An*ni"hi*late\ (an*n[imac]"h[i^]*l[asl]t), a. Annihilated. [Archaic]


Annihilate \An*ni"hi*late\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Annihilated; p. pr. & vb. n. Annihilating.] [L. annihilare; ad + nihilum, nihil, nothing, ne hilum (filum) not a thread, nothing at all. Cf. File, a row.]

  1. To reduce to nothing or nonexistence; to destroy the existence of; to cause to cease to be.

    It impossible for any body to be utterly annihilated.

  2. To destroy the form or peculiar distinctive properties of, so that the specific thing no longer exists; as, to annihilate a forest by cutting down the trees. ``To annihilate the army.''

  3. To destroy or eradicate, as a property or attribute of a thing; to make of no effect; to destroy the force, etc., of; as, to annihilate an argument, law, rights, goodness.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

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.


vb. 1 To reduce to nothing, to destroy, to eradicate. 2 (label en particle physics) To react with antimatter, producing gamma radiation. 3 (context archaic English) To treat as worthless, to vilify.


v. kill in large numbers; "the plague wiped out an entire population" [syn: eliminate, extinguish, eradicate, wipe out, decimate, carry off]

Usage examples of "annihilate".

Nelson had annihilated the French fleet, by the arrival of a Turkish army, amounting to 18,000 men.

Oghma the Wise viewed her as a young sage, while Talos the Destroyer saw her as an annihilating whirlwind of magic that left havoc wherever she went.

According to his theories, the elixir would have excellent properties for annihilating the aristocracy and giving the universe to the poor.

They let their separate selves burn away like so many thousands of matches, annihilating themselves in an all-consuming transcendence.

The turning point to Civilization was marked by Napoleon, the herald of absolute war and politics, but this tradition continued so strong that in the French War against Prussia, 1870-1871, victorious Prussia still did not think of annihilating the totally defeated foe, nor of subjecting it to an endless military occupation, but contented itself with reincorporating two provinces and imposing an indemnity which was paid off in a few years.

Its intense gravity had pulled many stars down toward its centre, pulled them apart into leptons and photons, annihilating them.

A few of these might rekindle their passion for a while, but most would look for easier ways of annihilating the longing inside them.

We have seen that the uncertainty principle ensures that even the vacuum of empty space is a teeming, roiling frenzy of virtual particles momentarily erupting into existence and subsequently annihilating one another.

England and Russia prevented Bismarck from annihilating France in 1875, an incident which aroused justified fear throughout France and gave an impulse to the revenge party.

Yet, when he was away from me, he spent much of the time savouring the most annihilating remorse.

He wanted to destroy them all, so that he would feel less lonely, and, in order to penetrate this absence with his annihilating presence, he left the jeep behind at a forgotten township where a green track ended and an ancient whisky priest sat all day in the ruins of a forsaken church brewing fire-water from wild bananas and keening the stations of the cross.

By annihilating the other, I preserve not only myself, but the collective or group that contains me.

I personally designed the antimatter trap that is keeping that sample from annihilating right now.

Behind these small ships, the overlapped shields of the foremost ballistas flickered imperceptibly in precise timing as they launched a volley of defensive projectile fire, driving back the first robot assault, annihilating many of the machine suicide ships before they could get through.

Waves of incinerating nuclear energy rushed over the machine city, a dazzling glare from round after round of annihilating nuclear bursts.