From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

Abolish \A*bol"ish\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Abolished; p. pr. &
   vb. n. Abolishing.] [F. abolir, L. abolere, aboletum; ab +
   olere to grow. Cf. Finish.]
   1. To do away with wholly; to annul; to make void; -- said of
      laws, customs, institutions, governments, etc.; as, to
      abolish slavery, to abolish folly.
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   2. To put an end to, or destroy, as a physical objects; to
      wipe out. [Archaic]
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            And with thy blood abolish so reproachful blot.
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            His quick instinctive hand
            Caught at the hilt, as to abolish him. --Tennyson.
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   Syn: To Abolish, Repeal, Abrogate, Revoke, Annul,
        Nullify, Cancel.

   Usage: These words have in common the idea of setting aside
          by some overruling act. Abolish applies particularly
          to things of a permanent nature, such as institutions,
          usages, customs, etc.; as, to abolish monopolies,
          serfdom, slavery. Repeal describes the act by which
          the legislature of a state sets aside a law which it
          had previously enacted. Abrogate was originally
          applied to the repeal of a law by the Roman people;
          and hence, when the power of making laws was usurped
          by the emperors, the term was applied to their act of
          setting aside the laws. Thus it came to express that
          act by which a sovereign or an executive government
          sets aside laws, ordinances, regulations, treaties,
          conventions, etc. Revoke denotes the act of recalling
          some previous grant which conferred, privilege, etc.;
          as, to revoke a decree, to revoke a power of attorney,
          a promise, etc. Thus, also, we speak of the revocation
          of the Edict of Nantes. Annul is used in a more
          general sense, denoting simply to make void; as, to
          annul a contract, to annul an agreement. Nullify is an
          old word revived in this country, and applied to the
          setting of things aside either by force or by total
          disregard; as, to nullify an act of Congress. Cancel
          is to strike out or annul, by a deliberate exercise of
          power, something which has operative force.
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