eradicate

verb
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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Make no mistake: The world is this close to eradicating the disease because of the oral vaccine. Julia Belluz, Vox, "A vaccine we don’t even use anymore is a reason polio keeps spreading — yes, really," 4 July 2018 His activism and advocacy across the globe—in particular his success in eradicating Guinea worm in Africa and Asia, from 3.5 million estimated cases in 1986 to 30 last year—led to the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize. Michael Paterniti, GQ, "Jimmy Carter for Higher Office," 26 June 2018 Traditional approaches to eradicating invasive species, such as toxins, can have harmful collateral effects to native wildlife. Nishan Degnarain, Fortune, "Commentary: These Technologies Could Save the Northern White Rhino From Extinction," 20 Mar. 2018 Their efforts to eradicate homosexuality left gay men subject to imprisonment, castration, institutionalization and deportation to concentration camps. Lisa J. Huriash, southflorida.com, "Museum documents persecution of gays in Nazi Germany," 10 July 2018 Should gene-drive technology prove effective at controlling rodents, islands are an ideal test bed, says Heath Packard, director of Island Conservation in Santa Cruz, California, a GBIRd partner that focuses on eradicating invasive pests. Ewen Callaway, Scientific American, "Controversial CRISPR “Gene Drives” Tested in Mammals for the First Time," 10 July 2018 All that will be underpinned by a systematic effort to eradicate the pervasive corruption that has plagued Iraq’s public sector. Washington Post, BostonGlobe.com, "Iraqis vote in first national election after toppling of Islamic State," 12 May 2018 Hammond eliminated all low-track classes and then, to eradicate de facto ability grouping, carefully enrolled English Language Learners (ELLs) and students with special needs across the school’s classrooms. Valerie Strauss, Washington Post, "How one Maryland high school successfully boosted minority student enrollment in advanced classes," 10 July 2018 In 1960s Oakland, urban-renewal projects steadily pushed out black residents and their businesses, effectively eradicating the city’s once thriving blues scene. Boots Riley, HWD, "Sorry to Bother You Director Boots Riley Takes a Ride Through Oakland’s Changing Landscape," 2 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.

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

Listen to Our Podcast about eradicate

Dictionary Entries near eradicate

ERA

eradiate

eradicant

eradicate

eradicative

Eragrostis

eranthemum

Statistics for eradicate

Last Updated

1 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for eradicate

The first known use of eradicate was in 1532

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for eradicate

eradicate

verb

English Language Learners Definition of eradicate

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

eradicate

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

Kids Definition of eradicate

: to destroy completely The disease has been eradicated.

Keep scrolling for more

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).

WORD OF THE DAY

to deposit or conceal in a hiding place

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Food Quiz

How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

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

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!