erad·​i·​cate | \i-ˈra-də-ˌkāt \
eradicated; eradicating

Definition of eradicate 

transitive verb

1 : to do away with as completely as if by pulling up by the roots programs to eradicate illiteracy

2 : to pull up by the roots

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Other Words from eradicate

eradicable \i-​ˈra-​di-​kə-​bəl \ adjective
eradication \i-​ˌra-​də-​ˈkā-​shən \ noun
eradicator \i-​ˈra-​di-​ˌkā-​tər \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for eradicate

exterminate, extirpate, eradicate, uproot mean to effect the destruction or abolition of something. exterminate implies complete and immediate extinction by killing off all individuals. exterminate cockroaches extirpate implies extinction of a race, family, species, or sometimes an idea or doctrine by destruction or removal of its means of propagation. many species have been extirpated from the area eradicate implies the driving out or elimination of something that has established itself. a campaign to eradicate illiteracy uproot implies a forcible or violent removal and stresses displacement or dislodgment rather than immediate destruction. the war uprooted thousands

The Root of Eradicate Is, Literally, Root

Given that eradicate first meant "to pull up by the roots," it's not surprising that the root of eradicate is, in fact, "root." Eradicate, which first turned up in English in the 16th century, comes from eradicatus, the past participle of the Latin verb eradicare. Eradicare, in turn, can be traced back to the Latin word radix, meaning "root" or "radish." Although eradicate began life as a word for literal uprooting, by the mid-17th century it had developed a metaphorical application to removing things the way one might yank an undesirable weed up by the roots. Other descendants of radix in English include radical and radish. Even the word root itself is related; it comes from the same ancient word that gave Latin radix.

Examples of eradicate in a Sentence

The disease has now been completely eradicated. His ambition is to eradicate poverty in his community.

Recent Examples on the Web

Feng Yonghui, chief analyst at Chinese swine industry research group Soozhu, said China will have to import more pork if African swine fever can’t be eradicated entirely. Jacob Bunge, WSJ, "Pork Producers Are Hog Wild About the U.S.-China Trade Truce," 3 Dec. 2018 In addition, biodiversity will plummet due to the number of species that will be eradicated by a half-degree increase in global temperatures, including the almost-certain destruction of most of the world’s coral reefs. Alissa Walker, Curbed, "Cities have 15 months to reverse climate change, says new report," 8 Oct. 2018 Asos said that, in addition to a collection system, their design team would be trained in circular design, and nonrecyclable materials would be eradicated. Sarah Spellings, The Cut, "Zara, Asos Commit to More Sustainable Practices by 2020," 18 Jan. 2018 Back in 2015, Ducati upgraded the Multistrada to the glorious 1200 DVT (Desmodromic Variable Timing), eradicating the low-RPM blatter of the non-DVT 1200. Nick Goddard, Popular Mechanics, "Road Tested: 2019 Ducati Multistrada Enduro 1260," 24 Oct. 2018 The goal is to eradicate spoofed numbers from the telephone system. Brooke Crothers, Fox News, "Nearly half all cell phone calls will be scams by 2019, report says," 21 Sep. 2018 Most movies about aliens suppose that extraterrestrial life wants to eradicate humanity; Annihilation asks: What if aliens wanted to combine themselves with us? Emily Gaudette, Newsweek, "Best Horror Movies 2018: The Most Anticipated Scares, from 'Truth or Dare' to 'Slender Man'," 11 Jan. 2018 Throughout his campaign, the future Mexican president repeatedly promised to eradicate the nation’s corruption problem and struck a chord with voters. Rick Noack, Washington Post, "Why Mexicans chose López Obrador as their new leader, in four graphs," 2 July 2018 MEXICO CITY - Mexican voters streamed into polling stations on Sunday morning for a presidential election that could bring to power a leftist who has attacked mainstream politicians and promises to eradicate corruption and defend the poor. Joshua Partlow And Maya Averbuch,, "Mexicans head to polls to choose a new president as relations with US grow unusually fraught," 1 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'eradicate.' 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 eradicate

1532, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for eradicate

Latin eradicatus, past participle of eradicare, from e- + radic-, radix root — more at root

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Statistics for eradicate

Last Updated

8 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for eradicate

The first known use of eradicate was in 1532

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More Definitions for eradicate



English Language Learners Definition of eradicate

: to remove (something) completely : to eliminate or destroy (something harmful)


erad·​i·​cate | \i-ˈra-də-ˌkāt \
eradicated; eradicating

Kids Definition of eradicate

: to destroy completely The disease has been eradicated.

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Comments on eradicate

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


a nest or breeding place

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