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

Keep scrolling for more

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 Small plaques for cremations are easily and gracefully effaced by rose bushes and grass. 1843, "Can words do the dead justice?," 21 May 2020 Over time, the self-effacing and unpretentious Mr. Mubarak was eclipsed by one with an almost imperial sense of entitlement. Michael Slackman, New York Times, "Hosni Mubarak, Egyptian Leader Ousted in Arab Spring, Dies at 91," 25 Feb. 2020 This is a little sad and self-effacing but great to see the show use her. Andy Hoglund, EW.com, "Saturday Night Live recap: Brad Pitt, Adam Sandler join second at-home episode," 26 Apr. 2020 Ryota’s widowed mother, in After the Storm, is kinder, more self-effacing, but prone to attacks of ruefulness. Terrence Rafferty, The Atlantic, "The Irresistible Drama of Becoming Who You Want to Be," 8 Apr. 2020 They have been effaced by the end of the Cold War, the apparent global victory of neo-liberal capitalism, and the resurgence of religious extremism. Julian Gewirtz, Harper's Magazine, "To Rebel Is Justified," 30 Mar. 2020 That sort of self-effacing, apparently unflappable management style served Iger brilliantly. Bill Carter For Cnn Business Perspectives, CNN, "Many underestimated Bob Iger. And then he proved them wrong," 27 Feb. 2020 Court documents filed by his lawyers in 2016 portrayed Blagojevich — known as brash in his days as governor — as humble and self-effacing, as well as an insightful life coach and lecturer on everything from the Civil War to Richard Nixon. Michael Tarm, Time, "Trump Commutes Ex-Governor Rod Blagojevich's Corruption Sentence in Midst of Clemency Blitz," 18 Feb. 2020 As the self-effacing homemaker Alice, one of the few fictional characters in Mrs. America, Paulson delivers humor, pathos, and gut-wrenching emotion. Kristen Baldwin, EW.com, "Mrs. America has so many stars, but so little time: Review," 2 Apr. 2020

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about efface

Time Traveler for efface

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for efface

Last Updated

29 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Efface.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/efface. Accessed 5 Jun. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for efface


How to pronounce efface (audio)

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on efface

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for efface

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

May 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a blooming wisteria tree
  • Which is a synonym of exiguous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!