ex·​pel | \ik-ˈspel \
expelled; expelling

Definition of expel 

transitive verb

1 : to force out : eject expelled the smoke from her lungs

2 : to force to leave (a place, an organization, etc.) by official action : take away rights or privileges of membership was expelled from college

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Other Words from expel

expellable \ik-​ˈspe-​lə-​bəl \ adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for expel

eject, expel, oust, evict mean to drive or force out. eject carries an especially strong implication of throwing or thrusting out from within as a physical action. ejected an obnoxious patron from the bar expel stresses a thrusting out or driving away especially permanently which need not be physical. a student expelled from college oust implies removal or dispossession by power of the law or by force or compulsion. police ousted the squatters evict chiefly applies to turning out of house and home. evicted for nonpayment of rent

Did You Know?

To expel is to drive out, and its usual noun is expulsion. Expel is similar to eject, but expel suggests pushing out while eject suggests throwing out. Also, ejecting may only be temporary: the player ejected from a game may be back tomorrow, but the student expelled from school is probably out forever.

Examples of expel in a Sentence

The club may expel members who do not follow the rules. She was expelled from school for bad behavior. expel air from the lungs
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Recent Examples on the Web

The timing coincides with the announcement by Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte on March 26 that his government was expelling two Russian diplomats. Sean Gallagher, Ars Technica, "Russians tried to hack Swiss lab testing samples from Skripal attack," 17 Sep. 2018 During your period, your body is expelling the lining your uterus built up in case of a pregnancy. Korin Miller, SELF, "Is There Any Reliable Way to Make Your Period Come Faster?," 11 July 2018 The records show that the department is expelling anyone who commits a serious crime or drinks alcohol during a shift. Adam Ashton, sacbee, "Pay cuts for misbehavior and dozens of dismissals: Is Cal Fire's crackdown going too far? | The Sacramento Bee," 24 May 2018 The House can expel any member for disorderly behavior with a two-thirds vote under the Arizona Constitution. Dustin Gardiner, azcentral, "Don Shooter seeks $1.3 million from House speaker, Ducey's chief of staff following removal," 16 Apr. 2018 On Thursday, the Russian foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, said that Moscow was expelling 60 diplomats from the United States and shutting the American consulate in St. Petersburg. Richard PÉrez-peÑa, New York Times, "Britain Signals Harder Look at Wealthy Russians and Russian Wealth," 29 Mar. 2018 The largest action came from Washington, which is expelling 60 Russians the U.S. identified as intelligence officers and closing a Russian consulate in Seattle that is close to a naval facility. Gerard Baker, WSJ, "The 10-Point.," 27 Mar. 2018 Inhale for six whole seconds, expel that air, and record, very specifically, what your body is doing while this is happening. Brennan Kilbane, GQ, "You’re Breathing All Wrong—Here’s How To Do It Right," 21 Mar. 2018 In the first trimester, a miscarriage typically takes several days to complete and for all fetal tissue to be expelled from the body. Jennifer Gerson, Marie Claire, "How Long After a Miscarriage Can I Start Trying Again?," 1 Oct. 2018

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for expel

Middle English expellen, from Latin expellere, from ex- + pellere to drive — more at felt

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Statistics for expel

Last Updated

12 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for expel

The first known use of expel was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for expel



English Language Learners Definition of expel

: to officially force (someone) to leave a place or organization

: to push or force (something) out


ex·​pel | \ik-ˈspel \
expelled; expelling

Kids Definition of expel

1 : to force to leave He was expelled from school.

2 : to force out expel air from lungs

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More from Merriam-Webster on expel

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with expel

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for expel

Spanish Central: Translation of expel

Nglish: Translation of expel for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of expel for Arabic Speakers

Comments on expel

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


to make faulty or ineffective

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