Meaning of ERASE in English


I. ə̇ˈrās, ēˈ-, chiefly Brit -āz verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

Etymology: Latin erasus, past participle of eradere, from e- + radere to scratch, scrape — more at rat

transitive verb



(1) : to rub or scrape out (as letters or figures written, engraved, or painted)

erased the chalk marks

a typing error neatly erased

(2) : to remove (recorded matter) from a magnetic storage medium (as magnetic tape) so as to make the surface available for a new magnetic pattern : demagnetize

the recording can be erased and the tape used again

also : to subject (as a magnetic tape) to erasure

b. : to remove marks, symbols, or other communicating devices from

the school children erased the blackboard


a. : to remove from existence or memory as if by erasing : wipe out : obliterate

a plan to erase the boundary between the countries

time had erased the bitter memories

specifically : to get rid of (a person) by murder

the efforts of a group of murderers to erase a blinded man — Anthony Boucher

b. : to nullify the effect or force of : remove from the necessity of consideration : make quite insignificant or inconsequential : annul

the … statement had erased in one day months of patient work — W.J.Jordan

c. : offset , neutralize , balance

profit taking erased most of these gains — Wall Street Journal

intransitive verb

1. : to yield to being erased

marks that erase easily

tape that erases when recorded over

2. : to remove marks or signals from something

a tape recorder that erases at a higher speed


expunge , blot ( out ), efface , obliterate , delete , cancel : erase stresses the fact of removal of symbols or impressions without important damage to the surface involved and may imply a resulting blank usable for a new symbol or impression

erase a misspelled word

a child erasing numbers from a slate

so violently have they hated the soul of the modern man that they have wished to erase from the record of history every thought and deed since the Renaissance — J.W.Krutch

expunge , especially in relation to tangible and simple action, has been influenced by sponge and stresses a complete washing out or off of whatever is affected or indicates its complete removal from consideration

expunge a false report

irrelevant testimony expunged from a court proceeding

a woman's history, you know: certain chapters expunged — George Meredith

blot ( out ) suggests the complete covering or obscuring of an impression by smearing or blurring over

lines of the manuscript blotted out by spilled ink

the same process by which Communist literature first blackened, and then blotted out altogether, Trotsky's exploits in the civil war — Times Literary Supplement

efface suggests complete removal of an impression, sometimes through slow attrition and wear

inscriptions on a pyramid effaced by time

a cliché, a worn counter of a word, with its original meaning all effaced, and even its secondary meaning now only just visible — Havelock Ellis

obliterate is perhaps the most forceful of this group in connoting utter, complete, and inexorable removal or elimination of all traces of impressions

a flash of lightning obliterated the first letter of ‘Caesar’ on a statue of Augustus — John Buchan

the Navajo was careful to obliterate every trace of their temporary occupation — Willa Cather

With no suggestion of either the destruction or the preservation of the marks or symbols involved, delete now stresses simple exclusion

delete a word unnecessarily repeated

whenever you feel an impulse to perpetrate a piece of exceptionally fine writing, obey it — wholeheartedly — and delete it before sending your manuscript to press — A.T.Quiller-Couch

cancel , formerly indicating to cross out, now stresses invalidation, nullification, or reduction to insignificance

the laboratory door does not lock behind him and bar his return any more than it swung shut to imprison Darwin and forever cancel his status as a naturalist — American Naturalist

Many of these words show semantic developments to ideas of destroying, killing, annihilating

the killers may in time succeed in erasing me — V.A.Kravchenko

the few survivors of the brilliant generation of young Englishmen expunged by the first World War — Jack Winocour

they [enemy soldiers] were just blotted out — Nevil Shute

and to ideas of balancing, offsetting, equaling, nullifying with equal opposing force

the … mixture of races canceling each other's beliefs — T.S.Eliot

a hideous phrase which no amount of palliation can ever quite obliterate — P.E.More

The semantic extensions may retain nuances of meaning implied in older uses.

II. transitive verb

: to delete from a computer storage device

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.