verb erad·i·cate \ i-ˈra-də-ˌkāt \
|Updated on: 7 Jul 2018

Definition of eradicate

eradicated; eradicating
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


play \i-ˈra-di-kə-bəl\ adjective


play \i-ˌra-də-ˈkā-shən\ noun


play \i-ˈra-di-ˌkā-tər\ noun

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Examples of eradicate in a Sentence

  1. The disease has now been completely eradicated.

  2. His ambition is to eradicate poverty in his community.

Recent Examples of eradicate from the Web

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.

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.

Origin and Etymology of eradicate

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

Synonym Discussion of 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

Other Agriculture/Gardening Terms

ERADICATE Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of eradicate for English Language Learners

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

ERADICATE Defined for Kids


verb erad·i·cate \ i-ˈra-də-ˌkāt \

Definition of eradicate for Students

eradicated; eradicating
: to destroy completely The disease has been eradicated.

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