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Abolish vs Annihilate vs Extinguish

Abolish, annihilate and extinguish all mean to make nonexistent.

Abolish implies a putting to an end chiefly of things that are the outgrowth of law, customs and conditions of existence.

  • The following year Parliament voted to abolish the death penalty for murder.

Annihilate suggests a complete wiping out of existence of something material or immaterial. (see also: Annihilate vs Decimate )

  • The human race has enough weapons to annihilate itself.

Extinguish is like to suggest a complete but gradual ending (as by stifling, choking, or smothering). (see also: Crush vs Quell vs Extinguish vs Suppress vs Quench vs Quash )

  • It took the firefighters several hours to extinguish the flames.