9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[uh-nahy-uh-leyt] /əˈnaɪ əˌleɪt/
verb (used with object), annihilated, annihilating.
to reduce to utter ruin or nonexistence; destroy utterly:
The heavy bombing almost annihilated the city.
to destroy the collective existence or main body of; wipe out:
to annihilate an army.
to annul; make void:
to annihilate a law.
to cancel the effect of; nullify.
to defeat completely; vanquish:
Our basketball team annihilated the visiting team.
Origin of annihilate
1350-1400; Middle English adnichilat(e) destroyed < Late Latin annihilātus brought to nothing, annihilated (past participle of annihilāre) (Latin an- an-2 + nihil nothing + -ātus -ate1)
Related forms
[uh-nahy-uh-ley-tiv, ‐uh-luh‐] /əˈnaɪ əˌleɪ tɪv, ‐ə lə‐/ (Show IPA),
[uh-nahy-uh-luh-tawr-ee, ‐tohr-ee] /əˈnaɪ ə ləˌtɔr i, ‐ˌtoʊr i/ (Show IPA),
unannihilated, adjective
unannihilative, adjective
unannihilatory, adjective
1. ravage, devastate, desolate. 1, 2. smash, obliterate, demolish. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for annihilate
  • Each seemed obsessed with but a single thought: to annihilate the other before the other annihilated him.
  • Meanwhile, superhero films strangely hew to a purposeful realism that comics regularly annihilate.
  • Each of the great powers now has enough nuclear weapons to annihilate the human race many times over.
  • Not only do these beauties annihilate glare, they also minimize fog-ups, thanks to a series of large vents around the lens.
  • His secret concoction of seven herbs can annihilate the virus, he says, within three days.
  • As every schoolboy knows, if you bring a particle and an antiparticle together, they annihilate each other in a burst of energy.
  • Integration does not annihilate the immigrants' culture.
  • Teleporters annihilate every particle in you, then rebuild them from scratch.
British Dictionary definitions for annihilate


(transitive) to destroy completely; extinguish
(transitive) (informal) to defeat totally, as in debate or argument
(intransitive) (physics) to undergo annihilation
Derived Forms
annihilable (əˈnaɪələbəl) adjective
annihilative, adjective
annihilator, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Late Latin annihilāre to bring to nothing, from Latin nihil nothing
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for annihilate

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for annihilate

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for annihilate

Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with annihilate