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 eradicable (audio) \ adjective
eradication \ i-​ˌra-​də-​ˈkā-​shən How to pronounce eradication (audio) \ noun
eradicator \ i-​ˈra-​di-​ˌkā-​tər How to pronounce eradicator (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

International human rights groups and UN bodies have previously expressed concerns about the Duterte administration's scorched earth-approach in its efforts to eradicate the methamphetamine trade. Joshua Berlinger, CNN, "Philippines: UN decision to probe drug war 'straight from the mouth of the Queen in Alice in Wonderland'," 11 July 2019 And after a gunman linked to online hate groups live streamed his attack on two New Zealand mosques in March, Macron joined New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in calling for an international effort to eradicate violent and extremist content. James Mcauley, Washington Post, "France moves toward a law requring Facebook to delete hate speech within 24 hours," 10 July 2019 Get our daily newsletter The worldwide campaign to eradicate polio is close to fruition. The Economist, "Pakistan is trying new tactics to eliminate polio," 4 July 2019 The cards were stolen from Answer ALS, an organization created to bring together all the efforts to eradicate amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, according to Capt. Michelle Hunter, nola.com, "Credit cards stolen from ALS non-profit linked to Steve Gleason foundation: JPSO," 25 June 2019 Now, a unique effort to eradicate the invaders is unfolding—against a background of controversy among the island's roughly 380 human inhabitants. John Pickrell, Science | AAAS, "Mass rodent poisoning on this remote Australian island could bring back giant stick insect," 5 June 2019 Unfortunately, eradicating the problems associated with food deserts isn’t as easy as giving the people who live in them access to supermarkets. Jessica Booth, Redbook, "Everything You Need To Know About Food Deserts," 29 Apr. 2019 Rats were removed from Anacapa Island, in Channel Islands National Park, about 15 years ago using an aerial drop. House mice have been eradicated from more than 50 islands worldwide, officials said. Peter Fimrite, SFChronicle.com, "Coastal Commission to consider poisoning mice to restore balance on Farallon Islands," 10 July 2019 The program, which has spent $16 billion over 30 years, had planned to eradicate polio from Pakistan and Afghanistan this year (only the latest of many deadlines). Leslie Roberts, Science | AAAS, "Surging cases have dashed all hope that polio might be eradicated in 2019," 10 July 2019

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

4 Aug 2019

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

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.

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

marked by turns or indirection

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Summer 2019 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a-bowl-of-peach-sorbet-with-cut-peaches-next-to-it
  • Which is a synonym of desideratum?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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!