verb (used with object), an·ni·hi·lat·ed, an·ni·hi·lat·ing.

  1. to reduce to utter ruin or nonexistence; destroy utterly: The heavy bombing almost annihilated the city.
  2. to destroy the collective existence or main body of; wipe out: to annihilate an army.
  3. to annul; make void: to annihilate a law.
  4. to cancel the effect of; nullify.
  5. to defeat completely; vanquish: Our basketball team annihilated the visiting team.


  1. (tr) to destroy completely; extinguish
  2. (tr) informal to defeat totally, as in debate or argument
  3. (intr) physics to undergo annihilation

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.

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