early 15c., "extinguished, quenched," from Latin extinctus/exstinctus, past participle of extinguere/exstinguere "to put out, quench; go out, die out; kill, destroy" (see extinguish). Originally of fires; in reference to the condition of a family or a hereditary title that has "died out," from 1580s; of species by 1690s. Shakespeare uses it as a verb. Compare extinction.
updated on June 01, 2016