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extinction

[ik-stingk-shuh n] /ɪkˈstɪŋk ʃən/
noun
1.
the act of extinguishing.
2.
the fact or condition of being extinguished or extinct.
3.
suppression; abolition; annihilation:
the extinction of an army.
4.
Biology. the act or process of becoming extinct; a coming to an end or dying out:
the extinction of a species.
5.
Psychology. the reduction or loss of a conditioned response as a result of the absence or withdrawal of reinforcement.
6.
Astronomy. the diminution in the intensity of starlight caused by absorption as it passes through the earth's atmosphere or through interstellar dust.
7.
Crystallography, Optics. the darkness that results from rotation of a thin section to an angle (extinction angle) at which plane-polarized light is absorbed by the polarizer.
Origin
late Middle English
1375-1425
1375-1425; late Middle English extinccio(u)n < Latin ex(s)tinctiōn- (stem of ex(s)tinctiō). See extinct, -ion
Related forms
nonextinction, noun
preextinction, noun
self-extinction, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for extinction
  • extinction is a steady process, exacting a continuous toll of species even in the best of times.
  • Barber-Scotia, a four-year college here, is on the edge of extinction.
  • Such effects could spread the ecological damage beyond the original prey at the same time as drawing out the actual extinction.
  • One in five lizard species are headed for extinction due to global warming, a new study says.
  • There are now serious actions taken for the survival of this majestic beast at the brink of extinction.
  • Large vultures, vitally necessary and once numbering in the tens of millions, now face extinction.
  • Several million years ago, shifts in climate led to the extinction of a variety of ape species.
  • But now another, more radical use for genetic modification is in the offing: the engineering of extinction.
  • Some have argued that higher education must be radically transformed or it will face extinction.
  • There is also opportunity cost to consider: the things extinction could make harder.
British Dictionary definitions for extinction

extinction

/ɪkˈstɪŋkʃən/
noun
1.
the act of making extinct or the state of being extinct
2.
the act of extinguishing or the state of being extinguished
3.
complete destruction; annihilation
4.
(physics) reduction of the intensity of radiation as a result of absorption or scattering by matter
5.
(astronomy) the dimming of light from a celestial body as it passes through an absorbing or scattering medium, such as the earth's atmosphere or interstellar dust
6.
(psychol) a process in which the frequency or intensity of a learned response is decreased as a result of reinforcement being withdrawn Compare habituation
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 extinction
n.

early 15c., from Latin extinctionem/exstinctionem (nominative extinctio/exstinctio), noun of action from past participle stem of extinguere/exstinguere (see extinguish). Originally of fires, lights; figurative use, of wiping out a material thing (a debt, a person, a family, etc.) from early 17c.; of species by 1784.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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extinction in Medicine

extinction ex·tinc·tion (ĭk-stĭngk'shən)
n.
Progressive reduction in the strength of the conditioned response in successive conditioning trials during which only the conditioned stimulus is presented and the unconditioned stimulus is omitted. See absorbance.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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extinction in Science
extinction
  (ĭk-stĭngk'shən)   
  1. The fact of being extinct or the process of becoming extinct. See more at background extinction, mass extinction.

  2. A progressive decrease in the strength of a conditioned response, often resulting in its elimination, because of withdrawal of a specific stimulus.


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

extinction definition


The disappearance of a species from the Earth.

Note: The fossil record tells us that 99.9 percent of all species that ever lived are now extinct.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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