\ 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 The risk of such a failure is even higher when coal ash is stored in the floodplain and waters can erode and weaken the infrastructure, according to HEC's report. Sarah Bowman, The Indianapolis Star, "Other states are making utilities dig up toxic coal ash. Indiana is letting it sit there.," 11 Feb. 2021 When glaciers are healthy and growing, the ice tends to erode the sides of the mountains, making valleys steeper. Chelsea Harvey, Scientific American, "Deadly Himalayan Flood Shows Perils of Mountain Warming," 10 Feb. 2021 But the lure to find the next big thing can erode those intentions. David Moore, Dallas News, "Jason Witten stays true to his principles by avoiding NFL temptation to coach high school football," 1 Feb. 2021 The rocks were actually traveling inside the glaciers, rather than on the outside of them, so the rocks didn't erode. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "Glaciers on Mars reveal the planet's many ice ages," 20 Jan. 2021 In theory, these genetic changes might alter the protein enough to erode the effectiveness of vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna — both of which are being rolled out in the U.S. — as well as three others close behind them. Melissa Healy, Los Angeles Times, "British scientists find changes in coronavirus that may make it more infectious," 20 Dec. 2020 Yet, in a region with a high water table and intense rains exacerbated by climate change, the mounds frequently erode and the tanks fail, sending sewage back through toilets, sinks, and bathtubs. Alexis Okeowo, The New Yorker, "The Heavy Toll of the Black Belt’s Wastewater Crisis," 23 Nov. 2020 That set off alarms in the public-health community, because such mutations could erode the effectiveness of the vaccines. Lawrence Wright, The New Yorker, "Can the COVID-19 Vaccine Beat the Proliferation of New Virus Mutations?," 21 Jan. 2021 One notable aspect of the past few weeks is the steady discrediting of Trumpism as a political ideology, but without the cost of an economic revolution that might erode America’s extraordinary strength, at least so far. Tom Mctague, The Atlantic, "Joe Biden Has a Europe Problem," 21 Jan. 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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Statistics for erode

Last Updated

21 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Erode.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
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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.
\ 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

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