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From late Middle English, borrowed from Latin extinctio (extinction, annihilation), from extinguere, past participle extinctus (to extinguish), perfect passive participle of extinguō, from ex- +‎ stinguō, from Proto-Indo-European *stengʷ- (to push, thrust), *stegʷ- (to thrust, strike).


  • IPA(key)/ɪkˈstɪŋkʃən/


extinction (countable and uncountableplural extinctions)

  1. The action of making or becoming extinct; annihilation.
  2. (astronomy) The absorption or scattering of electromagnetic radiation emitted by astronomical objects by intervening dust and gas before it reaches the observer.
  3. (pathology) The inability to perceive multiple stimuli simultaneously.
  4. (psychology) The fading of a conditioned response over time if it is not reinforced.
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