Definition of extinct in English:



  • 1(of a species, family, or other larger group) having no living members.

    ‘trilobites and dinosaurs are extinct’
    • ‘Five species are now extinct and 15 have been lost from over half their range.’
    • ‘She has also been working with Yellowstone National Park to help realize her pet project on extinct species.’
    • ‘The Victorian Bird Collection includes a diverse array of specimens from around the world including rare and extinct species.’
    • ‘Today, many of these species are ecologically extinct from their former ranges and large mammals are absent from most coastal ecosystems.’
    • ‘What kinds of extinct species had once belonged to the groups?’
    • ‘These affections are leaving the world like the colors of extinct birds, like the songs of a dead language.’
    • ‘Wilson is a natural orator, and the finest passages in the book are elegiac songs of life and wistful recollections of lost habitats, extinct flora and fauna.’
    • ‘But the related species of one extinct group, the glyptodonts, had a single-piece carapace similar to that of tortoises.’
    • ‘On the eastern side of the bluff, the bones of extinct species of bison attest that the promontory was once used as a buffalo jump.’
    • ‘The talk in the lecture theatre on Saturday at 1.30 pm will look at living animals as well as extinct species revealed in some of the rarest fossils.’
    • ‘Endangered or extinct species such as the small panda and the monk seal are on display.’
    • ‘Most paleontologists now agree this member of an extinct group of birds is not the ancestor of any group of modern birds, nor is it a link between reptiles and birds.’
    • ‘This study indicates a habitat and ecological polarity of this extinct species different from its nearest living relatives.’
    • ‘I'm sure he's right that the giant panda could go extinct without materially affecting human existence.’
    • ‘We were pleased to read recently that efforts are being made to re-establish an almost extinct species in Kerry.’
    • ‘It is the first time an extinct species has been reintroduced into the UK.’
    • ‘Still, is it unethical or immoral to bring an extinct species back from the dead?’
    • ‘He also included several extinct genera in this family, some of which have a pyramidal spire.’
    • ‘Granted, this species is extinct, but not that long ago, they filled this island.’
    • ‘Because of the unusual pattern of speciation preceding extinction, the region contained a mix of extinct and living species through the period of change.’
    • ‘With excessive fishing, these species are almost extinct.’
    vanished, lost, died out, dead, defunct, no longer existing, no longer extant, wiped out, destroyed, exterminated, gone
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    1. 1.1No longer in existence.
      ‘an extinct language’
      ‘the sort of girls' school that is now extinct’
      • ‘Languages are becoming extinct at an alarming rate which makes language endangerment the area of the greatest current concern to linguists.’
      • ‘Yes, it says it's a language from Australia, but now it's extinct.’
      • ‘Some languages are extinct - from Guale to Esalen, from Eyak to Timucuan.’
      • ‘However, Tulu language with its near extinct script has been generating much enthusiasm amongst the linguists, as it is now believed to be one of the oldest Dravidian languages.’
      • ‘This is how a language becomes extinct, says Doug Whalen, president of the Endangered Language Fund at Yale.’
      • ‘Some people refuse to accept that the idea of a regional assembly in the north west is extinct, it is no more.’
      • ‘If nobody shared any files then this type of service would be extinct very quickly.’
      • ‘The taking of snuff and the use of chewing tobacco are now almost extinct, although dedicated pipe smokers and cigar devotees are still to be found.’
      • ‘Again, it's worth remembering what a step up it is from its predecessor, although most skateboards exhibit superior ride and handling than that extinct species.’
      • ‘Certainly bank managers are now an extinct species.’
      • ‘Languages spoken by the indigenous population are extinct.’
      • ‘Vernon Street is now Pilkington Terrace, named after Commandant Billy Pilkington and James Street is extinct.’
      • ‘The hot programming language of today may be extinct tomorrow.’
      • ‘Because of the success of broadband services in the past few years, it could be very likely that dial-up service will eventually become extinct around the world.’
      • ‘In the final analysis, he is one of the last gentlemen (if not the last gentleman) among us, a nearly extinct species by now.’
      • ‘The laws of front-row play will almost certainly have to change, too, if props and hookers are not to become an extinct species.’
      • ‘It is much more likely that it is merely a rare or previously extinct language.’
      • ‘Many extinct or vanishing Indian languages are the only evidence we have of the long migrations and complex histories of particular peoples.’
      • ‘Learning to speak an extinct indigenous language should be an enormous benefit to Aboriginal kids in getting a job in twenty-first century Australia.’
      • ‘Here Tulu language, one of the five main Dravidian languages of the South, with its extinct script is spoken.’
    2. 1.2(of a title of nobility) having no valid claimant.
      ‘the baronetcy became extinct’
      • ‘The new d' Urbervilles changed their name to a noble name they thought extinct so that no one in the area will know how they made their money.’
      • ‘In that year both these names were replaced by the present one, which is presumably an allusion to the extinct title formerly held by a member of the Sutton family.’
      • ‘Even so I didn't know there was an extinct title for Walkley?’
  • 2(of a volcano) not having erupted in recorded history.

    ‘the islands are the remains of extinct volcanoes’
    • ‘The islands are low coral caps surmounting submerged extinct volcanoes.’
    • ‘A Lancaster woman is to hike 6,000 metres up to the summit of an extinct volcano.’
    • ‘Visually, the city keeps you enthralled, with its setting atop a series of extinct volcanoes and rocky crags.’
    • ‘El Laco is an extinct volcano of pure magnetite!’
    • ‘Just to the west of Mount Schank, an extinct volcano created a series of deep sinkholes, which harbour some unusual life forms.’
    inactive, old, former, no longer active
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    1. 2.1No longer alight.
      ‘his now extinct pipe’
      • ‘I found Jack sitting alone in the dark at the open studio window, an extinct pipe between his lips.’
      • ‘An extinct cigar lay on the carpet, where it had fallen from the mouth of some airman swiftly overtaken by sleep.’


Late Middle English (in the sense ‘no longer alight’): from Latin exstinct- extinguished, from the verb exstinguere (see extinguish).