If you liquidate something, you get rid of it. When a huge retailer has to close all of its stores, it liquidates everything, meaning the inventory and even the shelves and display cases are sold to bargain-hunters, to raise money for the company to pay its debts.

Liquidate comes from the Latin liquidare, meaning “to melt,” or “to clarify.” A recipe might ask you to liquefy the butter, not liquidate it, because liquidate has to do with assets. To liquidate is to convert stocks or goods into cash by selling them, to finish business neatly, and to clear debts. If you liquidate your old baseball card collection, you will have money to put in your college fund.

Primary Meanings of liquidate

eliminate by paying off (debts)
get rid of (someone who may be a threat) by killing
Full Definitions of liquidate

v eliminate by paying off (debts)

pay off
pay off (a mortgage)
amortise, amortize
liquidate gradually
Type of:
ante up, pay, pay up
cancel or discharge a debt

v settle the affairs of by determining the debts and applying the assets to pay them off

liquidate a company”
Type of:
dispose of; make a financial settlement

v convert into cash

“I had to liquidate my holdings to pay off my ex-husband”
Type of:
cash, cash in
exchange for cash

v get rid of (someone who may be a threat) by killing

“The mafia liquidated the informer”
do in, knock off, neutralise, neutralize, waste
Type of:
cause to die; put to death, usually intentionally or knowingly

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