ef·​face | \ i-ˈfās How to pronounce efface (audio) , e-\
effaced; effacing

Definition of efface

transitive verb

1 : to eliminate or make indistinct by or as if by wearing away a surface coins with dates effaced by wear also : to cause to vanish daylight effaced the stars
2 : to make (oneself) modestly or shyly inconspicuous

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Other Words from efface

effaceable \ i-​ˈfā-​sə-​bəl How to pronounce effaceable (audio) , e-​ \ adjective
effacer noun

Examples of efface in a Sentence

coins with dates effaced by wear a memory effaced by time

Recent Examples on the Web

Without completely effacing the natural beauty, developers and tourists remade the Dells as a waterpark and amusement playground. Jim Higgins, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "See the photographs that put the Dells on the map at an exclusive exhibit at West Bend's Museum of Wisconsin Art," 4 June 2019 Appearances from Ricky Martin, RuPaul, and John Legend kept things lively, though the number set a somewhat awkwardly self-effacing tone for the rest of the evening. Aja Romano, Vox, "The Emmys’ opening musical number was a wry nod to Hollywood’s (lack of) diversity," 18 Sep. 2018 Ferry, by nature shy and self-effacing, reinvented himself as a fop with issues. Greg Kot, chicagotribune.com, "Roxy Music: Still mind-blowing, still overlooked," 22 Feb. 2018 The book catapulted a shy, self-effacing man into a sudden spokesperson for the marginalized immigrant — and also imprinted him as the adventurous bad boy. Evan Kleiman, latimes.com, "He may have had a bad boy persona, but Anthony Bourdain was lovely, loyal and so damn smart," 9 June 2018 In Imperial Rome, the poets Horace and Ovid took stepmotherly wickedness for granted, while the historian Tacitus’ grotesque portrait of Livia, the third wife of the Emperor Augustus, has yet to be effaced. Maxwell Carter, WSJ, "‘Empress’ Review: Light of the Mughal World," 13 July 2018 The spiritual figurehead of the team in many ways has been Southgate, a former England player whose self-effacing enthusiasm has become central to the group’s appeal. Andrew Keh, New York Times, "England Takes Another Step Toward Bringing ‘It’ Home," 8 July 2018 Baddiel Skinner and the Lightning Seeds, 'Three Lions' (1996) Leave it to England to inject a dash of bittersweet nostalgia mixed with self-effacing humor into a field not known for either quality. Ed Masley, azcentral, "Best World Cup songs of all time, from Ricky Martin and Shakira to 'Three Lions'," 27 June 2018 The prevalence of bloviating, uncivilized screamers makes Charles’s self-effacing reserve especially refreshing. Fay Vincent, WSJ, "Charles Krauthammer Goes Out Like Gehrig," 10 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'efface.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of efface

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for efface

Middle English, from Anglo-French esfacer, effacer, from e- + face face

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Statistics for efface

Last Updated

13 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for efface

The first known use of efface was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for efface



English Language Learners Definition of efface

formal : to cause (something) to fade or disappear


ef·​face | \ i-ˈfās How to pronounce efface (audio) \
effaced; effacing

Kids Definition of efface

: to cause to fade or disappear … she wished to efface the memory of yesterday's failure …— Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

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More from Merriam-Webster on efface

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with efface

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for efface

Spanish Central: Translation of efface

Nglish: Translation of efface for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of efface for Arabic Speakers

Comments on efface

What made you want to look up efface? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to take the place or position of

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