Definition of annihilation in US English:



  • 1Complete destruction or obliteration.

    ‘the threat of global 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.’
    • ‘She has the power of annihilation and destruction.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘None can defeat us and any that resorts to a weapon of mass destruction invites annihilation.’
    • ‘The massive use of nuclear weapons holds out the potential for global annihilation.’
    • ‘But in every case it is backed by an immense armed force and its potential for annihilation and destruction.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘When the constant threat of instant annihilation suddenly disappears - seemingly without effort - it suddenly seems time to throw a big, national party.’
    • ‘Two world wars, a depression, and a cold war that threatened global annihilation ushered in a darker vision of human potentiality.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Free from the threat of Soviet annihilation, Europe - emboldened by its federalist ambitions - could have more room for independent manoeuvre.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Contemporary technology has reached a degree of destructive power that can expose humankind to self - annihilation.’
    • ‘Evil, for Tolkien, was non-being, and the destruction of evil was annihilation.’
    • ‘We hear the term - weapons of mass destruction, annihilation, chemical warfare.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    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’
      • ‘But all said and done, if the NDP hopes to avoid electoral annihilation it would do well to opt for Mr. Nystrom.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Against the hungry Rutgers horde 125-lb. Harry Hormel played left halfback, scored thrice, risked constant annihilation as his team annihilated Rutgers 60-6.’
      • ‘In coed football and volleyball, the sexes united to complete passes and spike balls in an overwhelming annihilation of Pierson College.’
      • ‘Ho showed few signs of being intimidated by links golf, particularly during his annihilation of the 497-yard par-five 4th.’
      • ‘They have argued that the Conservative Party faces, if not annihilation, something near to total disaster.’
      • ‘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.’
      defeat, beating, conquering, vanquishment, vanquishing, trouncing, overpowering, overthrow, subduing, subjugation, rout, mastery, crushing
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  • 2Physics
    The conversion of matter into energy, especially the mutual conversion of a particle and an antiparticle into electromagnetic radiation.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘When it comes to Anti-matter, the annihilation effect converts the particle or particles that are opposite the anti-particle.’
    • ‘Ultimately, for travel to distant star systems, the tremendous energy available in particle annihilation will be applied in propulsion.’
    • ‘If Lorentz invariance were violated, the gamma-rays would pass right through the extragalactic infrared fog with insufficient energy to cause annihilation.’
    • ‘I think you underestimate the effects of the instantaneous matter/antimatter annihilation of a billion tons.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘By measuring the time between the pulse and the photon flash of electron-positron annihilation the team was able to map the defect regions.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Astronomers discovered through CGRO data that the center of our galaxy glows in gamma rays created by the annihilation of matter and antimatter.’


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