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Recorded since 1432; borrowed from Latin extinctus, the past participle of extinguere (to put out, destroy, abolish, extinguish), corresponding to ex- + stinguere (to quench)


  • IPA(key): /ɪkˈstɪŋkt/, /ɛkˈstɪŋkt/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɪŋkt


extinct (not comparable)

  1. (dated) Extinguished, no longer alight (of fire, candles etc.)
    Poor Edward's cigarillo was already extinct.
    • 1834, Letitia Elizabeth Landon, Francesca Carrara, volume 1, page 311:
      Most of the lamps were extinct, but they glittered golden in the morning light, and in some few a pale white flame yet struggled with day.
  2. No longer used; obsolete, discontinued.
    The title became extinct when the last baron died.
    Luckily, such ideas about race are extinct in current sociological theory.
    • 1988, Andrew Radford, chapter 5, in Transformational grammar: a first course, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, page 275:
      Indeed the very fact that the English spelling system writes in there as two words but therein as one word might be taken as suggesting that only the former is a productive syntactic construction in Modern English, the latter being a now extinct construction which has left behind a few fossil remnants in the form of compound words such as thereby.
  3. (of a group of organisms, as a species) No longer in existence; having died out.
    The dinosaurs have been extinct for millions of years.
  4. (geology) No longer active.
    Most of the volcanos on this island are now extinct.
    They found the sites of extinct geysers.



Related terms[edit]


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Further reading[edit]


extinct (third-person singular simple present extincts, present participle extincting, simple past and past participle extincted)

  1. (transitive, nonstandard) To make extinct; to extinguish or annihilate.