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Aphetic for obsolete evanish, from Middle English vanyshen, evaneschen, from Old French esvanir, esvaniss- (modern French évanouir), from Vulgar Latin *exvanire (to vanish, disappear, to fade out), from Latin evanescere, from vanus (empty). Doublet of evanesce.


  • enPR: văn'ĭsh, IPA(key): /ˈvænɪʃ/
    • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ænɪʃ
  • Hyphenation: van‧ish


vanish (third-person singular simple present vanishes, present participle vanishing, simple past and past participle vanished)

  1. To become invisible or to move out of view unnoticed.
  2. (mathematics) To become equal to zero.
    The function such as vanishes at .
  3. (transitive) to disappear; to kidnap
    • 2011, Patrick Meaney, Our Sentence Is Up: Seeing Grant Morrison's the Invisibles, Sequart, →ISBN, page 330:
      And as if to prove it, one of his friends was vanished and was never seen again. The guy got in a taxi one night, and no one ever saw him ever again.
    • 2004, John Varley, The John Varley Reader, Penguin, →ISBN:
      It was whispered that men had been “vanished” by the Line and returned everted. Turned inside out.


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vanish (plural vanishes)

  1. (phonetics) The brief terminal part of a vowel or vocal element, differing more or less in quality from the main part.
    a as in ale ordinarily ends with a vanish of i as in ill.
    o as in old ordinarily ends with a vanish of oo as in foot.
    • 1827, James Rush, The Philosophy of the Human Voice:
      The median stres may also on a protracted quantity , slightly resemble respectively that of the radical and of the vanish , by sudenly enlarging in the course of the prolongation and gradualy diminishing ; and by the reverse
  2. A magic trick in which something seems to disappear.
    The French drop is a well-known vanish involving sleight of hand.

See also[edit]

Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for “vanish”, in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, Springfield, Mass.: G. & C. Merriam, 1913, →OCLC.)