\ i-ˈrōd How to pronounce erode (audio) \
eroded; eroding

Definition of erode

transitive verb

1 : to diminish or destroy by degrees:
a : to eat into or away by slow destruction of substance (as by acid, infection, or cancer)
b : to wear away by the action of water, wind, or glacial ice flooding eroded the hillside
c : to cause to deteriorate or disappear as if by eating or wearing away inflation eroding buying power
2 : to produce or form by eroding glaciers erode U-shaped valleys

intransitive verb

: to undergo erosion where the land has eroded away

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from erode

erodibility \ i-​ˌrō-​də-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce erodibility (audio) \ noun
erodible or less commonly erodable \ i-​ˈrō-​də-​bəl How to pronounce erodable (audio) \ adjective

Examples of erode in a Sentence

Crashing waves have eroded the cliffs along the beach. The shoreline has eroded badly.
Recent Examples on the Web Profit margins in flagship U.S. pharmacy business were eroded by reimbursement pressure. Robert Langreth,, "Walgreens Earnings Slide as It Faces More Competitors," 10 May 2020 In 2007, researchers soaked teeth in seltzer water for 30 minutes and found that the seltzer did start to erode the enamel. Rahel Mathews, The Conversation, "Is seltzer water healthy?," 7 May 2020 The stresses of flying at supersonic speed threaten to erode a F-35's stealth coating and damage key antennas embedded in the tail of the aircraft. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "When It Comes to Supersonic Flight, the F-35’s Wings Are Clipped," 29 Apr. 2020 Those who survive usually end up with feeding tubes, a result of their mouth and esophagus being eroded by the cleaning agents. Allyson Chiu, Anchorage Daily News, "Trump’s live TV comments prompt doctors, and Lysol, to warn against injecting disinfectants," 24 Apr. 2020 Despite almost $2 billion in spending by the industry on equipment to respond to an oil well blowout like BP’s, some scientists, former government officials and environmentalists say safety practices appear to be eroding. Kevin Mcgill And Matthew Brown, Houston Chronicle, "10 years after BP spill: Oil drilled deeper; rules relaxed," 21 Apr. 2020 In the case of Kivalina, an Indigenous nation located on an island off of the northwestern Alaskan coastline, its land area has been eroded by at least 50 percent over the past seven decades, with much of it falling into the Chukchi Sea. Nick Martin, The New Republic, "America’s Climate Refugees Are Pleading for Help. The Government Has No Answer.," 24 Jan. 2020 Two years earlier, oceanographers had moored a sensor in the fjord's depths to decipher how warm Atlantic Ocean waters are eroding Helheim Glacier, one of the ice sheet's largest tongues. Paul Voosen, Science Magazine, "A project to monitor every aspect of a fast-shrinking glacier could hold an answer to an urgent question: How fast will seas rise?," 10 Oct. 2019 Some researchers have focused on how the shrinking snowpack in the mountains will gradually erode the ability of water managers to use that snowpack in calculating the available water supply each year. Ian James, azcentral, "Supercharged by climate change, ‘megadrought’ points to drier future in the West," 6 May 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'erode.' 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 erode

1612, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for erode

Latin erodere to eat away, from e- + rodere to gnaw — more at rodent

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about erode

Time Traveler for erode

Time Traveler

The first known use of erode was in 1612

See more words from the same year

Statistics for erode

Last Updated

27 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Erode.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 May. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for erode


How to pronounce erode (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of erode

: to gradually destroy (something) or to be gradually destroyed by natural forces (such as water, wind, or ice)


\ i-ˈrōd How to pronounce erode (audio) \
eroded; eroding

Kids Definition of erode

: to destroy or be destroyed by wearing away Waves erode the shore.
\ i-ˈrōd How to pronounce erode (audio) \
eroded; eroding

Medical Definition of erode

1 : to eat into or away by slow destruction of substance (as by acid, infection, or cancer) acids that erode the teeth bone eroded by cancer
2 : to remove with an abrasive a dental tool that erodes the decayed area

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on erode

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for erode

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with erode

Spanish Central: Translation of erode

Nglish: Translation of erode for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of erode for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about erode

Comments on erode

What made you want to look up erode? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

May 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a blooming wisteria tree
  • Which is a synonym of exiguous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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