\ 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

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Other Words from erode

erodibility \ i-​ˌrō-​də-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce erode (audio) \ noun
erodible or less commonly erodable \ i-​ˈrō-​də-​bəl How to pronounce erode (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 Such a substantial gap would undoubtedly keep copper prices high and continue to erode margins on renewable projects. Robert Rapier, Forbes, 17 Sep. 2021 And yet removing any one of these features would, if just in a small way, erode the bookiness of a book. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, 14 Sep. 2021 Eventually, the coral will be strong enough to support itself without the tile -- which can then be shattered by divers, or will naturally erode. CNN, 13 Sep. 2021 Great powers tend to go off course slowly and over many decades, like the British empire or the Soviet Union, as external shocks and internal strife gradually erode people's standards of living. Alain Sherter, CBS News, 9 Sep. 2021 But Franklin also warns that retirees age 65 and older need to watch out for premium hikes for Medicare Part B, which are expected to rise in 2022 and could erode some of the COLA increases in Social Security. Susan Tompor, Detroit Free Press, 2 Sep. 2021 Work on machine unlearning is motivated in part by growing attention to the ways artificial intelligence can erode privacy. Tom Simonite, Wired, 19 Aug. 2021 The ability to specifically target people who are going to transact is diminished, and will continue to erode as ATT rolls out. Yoni Heisler, BGR, 14 July 2021 Absent a successful effort to demonstrate to the American people that the economic system can be made to work fairly for them, the foundations of democracy will continue to erode. John Cassidy, The New Yorker, 12 July 2021

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.

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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

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Last Updated

25 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Erode.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for erode



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.


transitive verb
\ 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

More from Merriam-Webster on erode

Nglish: Translation of erode for Spanish Speakers

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


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