Definition of annihilation in English:



mass noun
  • 1Complete destruction or obliteration.

    ‘the threat of global annihilation’
    • ‘She has the power of annihilation and destruction.’
    • ‘Free from the threat of Soviet annihilation, Europe - emboldened by its federalist ambitions - could have more room for independent manoeuvre.’
    • ‘None can defeat us and any that resorts to a weapon of mass destruction invites annihilation.’
    • ‘Sometimes the war was hot and active; other times it was cold and passive; but the threat of national annihilation by a ruthless and competent foe was ever-present.’
    • ‘Even if one wishes to reject claims for the complete annihilation of the self, a compelling case can be made for a profound instability of personal identity within contemporary western culture.’
    • ‘Contemporary technology has reached a degree of destructive power that can expose humankind to self - annihilation.’
    • ‘Violence breeds nothing but violence, and the violence of human history has brought us to where we are today-a world on the brink of annihilation, from the global scale to the local.’
    • ‘Two world wars, a depression, and a cold war that threatened global annihilation ushered in a darker vision of human potentiality.’
    • ‘The threat of global annihilation has so colored the debate that for many people it is considered an axiomatic truth that the use of such weaponry can never be justified.’
    • ‘Evil, for Tolkien, was non-being, and the destruction of evil was annihilation.’
    • ‘This is something entirely between the United States government and those regimes who dislike freedom, who really develop weapons of mass destruction for mass annihilation.’
    • ‘Ground Zero subsequently became a term to describe the point directly below a nuclear explosion - where destruction is total and annihilation of all life is complete.’
    • ‘The massive use of nuclear weapons holds out the potential for global annihilation.’
    • ‘We hear the term - weapons of mass destruction, annihilation, chemical warfare.’
    • ‘Only one thing can conquer war - that liberal attitude of mind which can see nothing in war but destruction and annihilation, and which can never wish to bring about a war, because it regards war as injurious even to the victors.’
    • ‘In addition, the concept of utter destruction and annihilation of the foe was well understood - total war was the objective; there was no other form of war.’
    • ‘The Central American woman leaves her homeland fleeing annihilation and destruction, but her exile in the US does not offer her more visibility or presence.’
    • ‘When the constant threat of instant annihilation suddenly disappears - seemingly without effort - it suddenly seems time to throw a big, national party.’
    • ‘The apologist for deterrence of this kind assumes a sort of Manichaean view that war is of its nature irrational and apocalyptic, avoidable only by threats of total annihilation.’
    • ‘But in every case it is backed by an immense armed force and its potential for annihilation and destruction.’
    destruction, wiping out, extermination, extirpation, elimination, eradication, killing, decimation, liquidation, demolition
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    1. 1.1 Total defeat.
      ‘a show of independence is its only hope of avoiding annihilation in next year's elections’
      • ‘Unusually, it was a football-dominated weekend for me with Saturday afternoon being taken up by the total annihilation of Port Adelaide by Geelong in the AFL Grand Final.’
      • ‘In coed football and volleyball, the sexes united to complete passes and spike balls in an overwhelming annihilation of Pierson College.’
      • ‘They have argued that the Conservative Party faces, if not annihilation, something near to total disaster.’
      • ‘Against the hungry Rutgers horde 125-lb. Harry Hormel played left halfback, scored thrice, risked constant annihilation as his team annihilated Rutgers 60-6.’
      • ‘As the world-at-large clearly knows now, the thirtieth America's Cup defense 2000 was a total annihilation of the Italian Prada Challenge by defenders Team New Zealand.’
      • ‘But all said and done, if the NDP hopes to avoid electoral annihilation it would do well to opt for Mr. Nystrom.’
      • ‘Ho showed few signs of being intimidated by links golf, particularly during his annihilation of the 497-yard par-five 4th.’
      defeat, beating, conquering, vanquishment, vanquishing, trouncing, overpowering, overthrow, subduing, subjugation, rout, mastery, crushing
      View synonyms
  • 2Physics
    The conversion of matter into energy, especially the mutual conversion of a particle and an antiparticle into electromagnetic radiation.

    • ‘Jeans favoured, incorrectly as it turned out, the theory that the energy was the result of contraction while Eddington, correctly of course, believed it resulted from a slow process of annihilation of matter.’
    • ‘By measuring the time between the pulse and the photon flash of electron-positron annihilation the team was able to map the defect regions.’
    • ‘Astronomers discovered through CGRO data that the center of our galaxy glows in gamma rays created by the annihilation of matter and antimatter.’
    • ‘The densely packed pigments in chlorosomes and the rapid energy transfer between them lead to onset of exciton annihilation at remarkably low light level.’
    • ‘The lead plates convert a small fraction of the incident annihilation photons into electrons while the wire chambers determine the position of the charge.’
    • ‘Anderson discovered that the collision of an electron and a positron resulted in the annihilation of both particles, with their mass being converted into energy.’
    • ‘Special care was dedicated to avoid the onset of exciton annihilation, which enabled us to reveal otherwise hidden energy transfer processes.’
    • ‘When it comes to Anti-matter, the annihilation effect converts the particle or particles that are opposite the anti-particle.’
    • ‘I think you underestimate the effects of the instantaneous matter/antimatter annihilation of a billion tons.’
    • ‘Ultimately, for travel to distant star systems, the tremendous energy available in particle annihilation will be applied in propulsion.’
    • ‘In the enormous densities of the early moments of the Big Bang the result would have been a catastrophic annihilation of matter and antimatter into radiation.’
    • ‘If Lorentz invariance were violated, the gamma-rays would pass right through the extragalactic infrared fog with insufficient energy to cause annihilation.’
    • ‘When annihilation occurs what happens with the charge of the interacting particles?’
    • ‘They conclude that at the boundary of the domains it would be impossible to avoid matter-antimatter annihilation.’
    • ‘This means that matter-antimatter annihilation theoretically produces the maximum amount of energy from a given amount of mass.’
    • ‘The particles and antiparticles squared off - one on one annihilation until only a relatively tiny amount of matter was left over.’


Mid 16th century: from late Latin annihilatio(n-), from the verb annihilare (see annihilate).