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[ik-stingkt] /ɪkˈstɪŋkt/
no longer in existence; that has ended or died out:
an extinct species of fish.
no longer in use; obsolete:
an extinct custom.
extinguished; quenched; not burning.
having ceased eruption; no longer active:
an extinct volcano.
Origin of extinct
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English < Latin ex(s)tinctus put out, quenched, past participle of ex(s)tinguere to extinguish
Related forms
nonextinct, adjective
unextinct, adjective
Can be confused
extinct, rare, scarce.
1. defunct, gone, vanished. See dead. 2. archaic. 3. out. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for extinct
  • In America, 53 languages have become extinct since 1950, more than in any other country.
  • For nearly two centuries, people have struggled to imagine what the great extinct dinosaurs looked like.
  • Fully prepared to overthrow everything on the planet in 1968, they were nearly all extinct by 1970.
  • The new work marks the first time that so much of the genetic material of an extinct creature has been retrieved.
  • Several of these species are thought to possibly be extinct or are so rare that little data exists about them.
  • For nearly 200 years, anthropologists and historians considered the Matinecock extinct.
  • What I found particularly interesting was the prediction that various words will "become extinct" within a specific time period.
  • He insists he's seen mammoths there, but everyone knows mammoths are extinct.
  • Today, antigravity research is an all-but-extinct field of study that has devolved into little more than science-fiction fantasy.
  • Half are expected to be extinct by the end of the century.
British Dictionary definitions for extinct


(of an animal or plant species) having no living representative; having died out
quenched or extinguished
(of a volcano) no longer liable to erupt; inactive
void or obsolete: an extinct political office
Word Origin
C15: from Latin exstinctus quenched, from exstinguere to extinguish
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
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Word Origin and History for extinct

early 15c., from Latin extinctus/exstinctus, past participle of extinguere/exstinguere (see extinguish). Originally of fires; the sense of the condition of "dying out" of a family or a hereditary title, 1580s; of species by 1768. Cf. extinction.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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extinct in Science
  1. Having no living members. Species become extinct for many reasons, including climate change, disease, destruction of habitat, local or worldwide natural disasters, and development into new species (speciation). The great majority of species that have ever lived—probably more than 99 percent—are now extinct.

  2. No longer active or burning, as an extinct volcano.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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