eradicate

verb
erad·​i·​cate | \ i-ˈra-də-ˌkāt How to pronounce eradicate (audio) \
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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from eradicate

eradicable \ i-​ˈra-​di-​kə-​bəl How to pronounce eradicate (audio) \ adjective
eradication \ i-​ˌra-​də-​ˈkā-​shən How to pronounce eradicate (audio) \ noun
eradicator \ i-​ˈra-​di-​ˌkā-​tər How to pronounce eradicate (audio) \ 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 Though invasive species have popped up in the preserve, LCWA has worked to eradicate exotics and restore the natural longleaf pine forest at the top of the land. Patrick Connolly, orlandosentinel.com, 2 July 2021 In the message, the president hailed Mr. Carter’s work in office and after his defeat to Ronald Reagan in 1980, praising Mr. Carter for working to eradicate disease and house the poor while still finding time to teach Sunday school. Jim Tankersley, New York Times, 29 Apr. 2021 The causes were multiple, but a significant contributory factor was Lyndon B. Johnson’s ‘Great Society’ spending spree, which sought to eradicate poverty and redress racial inequalities. Steven Desmyter, Forbes, 20 Apr. 2021 In fact, this land became ours through a process in which the U.S. Government attempted to completely eradicate the sovereignty of Native American nations and force Native people into living like white Americans. Alaina E. Roberts, Time, 14 Apr. 2021 With this iteration of Ghost, Rolls-Royce went on a mission to eradicate as many shut lines as possible and reduce panel gaps to a hair’s width. Howard Walker, Robb Report, 9 Mar. 2021 Experts say the leaders on display today, who could have gone to any school and chose an HBCU, are helping to eradicate that bias and are a reaffirmation of the power and influence of these colleges and universities. Beth Kowitt, Fortune, 4 Mar. 2021 The owner is letting the state eradicate the nest and remove the tree. Nicholas K. Geranios, chicagotribune.com, 23 Oct. 2020 Every year, the Invasive Species Council honors Wisconsin citizens and organizations for their efforts to prevent, control or eradicate invasive species that harm Wisconsin's lands, waters and wetlands, according to the council's website. Alec Johnson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 30 June 2021

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About eradicate

Time Traveler for eradicate

Time Traveler

The first known use of eradicate was in 1532

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast About eradicate

Dictionary Entries Near eradicate

eradicant

eradicate

eradicative

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for eradicate

Last Updated

31 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Eradicate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/eradicate. Accessed 31 Jul. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for eradicate

eradicate

verb

English Language Learners Definition of eradicate

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

eradicate

verb
erad·​i·​cate | \ i-ˈra-də-ˌkāt How to pronounce eradicate (audio) \
eradicated; eradicating

Kids Definition of eradicate

: to destroy completely The disease has been eradicated.

More from Merriam-Webster on eradicate

Nglish: Translation of eradicate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of eradicate for Arabic Speakers

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet pasta spelling help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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