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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.
Contemporary Examples

All of this, of course, does not consider the consequences of blurring or, in some instances, annihilating the feminine identity.
‘Slut, Bitch, Dyke’—Joan of Arc and the Modern Military Woman Mariette Kalinowski August 20, 2013

It has the right to regard the threat that Hamas poses as an annihilating one, given the emphatic language of its covenant.
Is Israel Immoral to Retaliate Against Gaza? Thane Rosenbaum November 23, 2012

After recovering from a severe depression, some patients mourn the loss of that annihilating, painful depth of despair.
Bereavement Doesn’t Equal Depression, and It’s No Disease for the DSM T. Byram Karasu January 26, 2012

Their biggest threat is the Builders, an ancient race of aliens hell-bent on annihilating the human race.
Inside Marvel’s Phase 3: How ‘The Avengers’ Cross Paths with Black Panther and the New Superheroes Marlow Stern October 29, 2014

Soviet forces had deftly enveloped the German 4th and 9th Armies, annihilating some 28 divisions.
Hitler’s Hail Mary James A. Warren December 19, 2014

Historical Examples

I can feel it; I am being ruined; folks are bent on annihilating me, as if I had not already lost everything when I lost my child.
Fruitfulness Emile Zola

The kabaka Suna had only taken time to prepare for an annihilating blow.
Freeland Theodor Hertzka

I once asked Admiral Jellicoe who was the real inventor of this annihilating missile.
The Victory At Sea William Sowden Sims

Again and again came that flash of force, annihilating them.
When the Sleepers Woke Arthur Leo Zagat

The bird itself was annihilated in annihilating Hiawatha’s daughter.
The Myth of Hiawatha, and Other Oral Legends, Mythologic and Allegoric, of the North American Indians Henry R. Schoolcraft

(transitive) to destroy completely; extinguish
(transitive) (informal) to defeat totally, as in debate or argument
(intransitive) (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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