Definition of extinction in English:



  • 1The state or process of a species, family, or larger group being or becoming extinct.

    ‘the extinction of the great auk’
    ‘mass extinctions’
    • ‘Each event includes one or more datum points when extinctions and other biotic changes took place.’
    • ‘Scientists are sharply divided over what caused the extinction.’
    • ‘We're facing critical mass extinctions across a whole variety of ecosystems once the two degree level has been crossed, from coral reefs to rainforests.’
    • ‘Marine fossil evidence tells of numerous extinctions, global mass extinction, and geochemical events.’
    • ‘The result will be a series of mass extinctions and a dramatic fall in the planet's biodiversity, as well as its ability to support humankind.’
    • ‘Regardless of the variables he plugged in, the presence of human hunters triggered mass extinctions.’
    • ‘Global mass extinctions are usually explained by one or more physico-chemical causes.’
    • ‘We have more difficulty with the concept of mass extinctions.’
    • ‘Some explanations for extinctions and evolution include strikes by asteroids or comets.’
    • ‘Note that several Cambrian and early Ordovician mass extinctions are not shown here.’
    • ‘Globally, diversity naturally has increased over time, though the great mass extinctions have decreased it for a while.’
    • ‘He downplayed the importance of developmental constraints, of mass extinctions, and species selection.’
    • ‘There have been five major mass extinctions and more than 20 minor mass extinctions.’
    • ‘But how do mass extinctions perturb these systems in the first place?’
    • ‘Are we headed for mass extinctions for animal, bird and plant life?’
    • ‘There have been at least five mass extinctions till now, all by natural forces.’
    • ‘Unlike previous mass extinctions this current episode is due to the disruptive activities of just one species, man.’
    • ‘I recall hearing some scientist mention that mass extinctions seem to occur in very ordered cycles.’
    • ‘During these ice ages, the decrease in global temperature led to mass extinctions.’
    • ‘Prominent biologists say we're on par with the five previous mass extinctions in the history of life on earth.’
    dying out, disappearance, vanishing, death
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    1. 1.1 The wiping out of a debt.
      • ‘The policy of Immediate debt extinction was initiated by Gallalin.’
      • ‘The principle of automatic extinction of the claim/debt on confusion has adverse consequences in the capital markets.’
      elimination, removal, suppression
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  • 2Physics
    Reduction in the intensity of light or other radiation as it passes through a medium or object, due to absorption, reflection, and scattering.

    ‘ultraviolet extinction’
    • ‘Will improved classification schemes allow better understanding of extinction and radiation events?’
    • ‘It is evident from this figure that with increasing (leaf angle) the light extinction in the leaf community decreases.’
    • ‘The pattern of turnover within a stage is important for understanding the mechanisms of radiation and extinction.’
    • ‘In addition, it may be due to possible variation in the light extinction coefficient between seasons or during the crop growth period.’
    • ‘The concentration was employed to transform the experimentally obtained absorption into extinction coefficient spectra.’


Late Middle English: from Latin exstinctio(n-), from exstinguere ‘quench’ (see extinguish).