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

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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 And after college, the teammate said, Green began working as a financial adviser, with aspirations to start a finance company to help the Black community and eradicate poverty., "Capitol suspect struggled before attack, but motive remains unclear," 4 Apr. 2021 And after college, the teammate said, Mr. Green began working as a financial adviser, with aspirations to start a finance company to help the Black community and eradicate poverty. New York Times, "Capitol Suspect Struggled Before Attack, but Motive Remains Unclear," 3 Apr. 2021 In Denmark, the program to eradicate child poverty is often referred as the børnecheck, the name for the family allowance that's targeted to all but the wealthiest Danes. Bernhard Warner, Fortune, "The U.S. will spend billions in stimulus to tackle child poverty—still puny by global standards," 16 Mar. 2021 The village of Jieyuan is one of many successes of President Xi Jinping’s ambitious pledge to eradicate abject rural poverty by the end of 2020. Keith Bradsher, New York Times, "Jobs, Houses and Cows: China’s Costly Drive to Erase Extreme Poverty," 31 Dec. 2020 Before humans began a campaign to eradicate them, gray wolves roamed throughout most of the U.S. Anna M. Phillips, Los Angeles Times, "Trump administration drops gray wolf from endangered species list," 29 Oct. 2020 In the 1800s, they were driven close to extinction when the U.S. government subsidized campaigns to eradicate predators, including the jaguar. Erin Stone, The Arizona Republic, "Arizona, New Mexico could support more jaguars in a wider area, a new study finds," 18 Mar. 2021 Then a bookie was murdered, which coincided with Robert F. Kennedy’s effort to eradicate the mob nationally. Russell Shorto, Time, "What My Mobster Grandfather Understood About American Capitalism," 17 Mar. 2021 Sharing stories of pregnancy loss can work to eradicate the lingering stigma, judgment and shame that often forces us into isolation and silence. Jessica Zucker, Good Housekeeping, "Even After Pregnancy Loss, I Was Still Getting Comments About "Looking Pregnant"," 9 Mar. 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.

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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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Time Traveler for eradicate

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The first known use of eradicate was in 1532

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Last Updated

14 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Eradicate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for eradicate



English Language Learners Definition of eradicate

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


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.

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