ex·​pel ik-ˈspel How to pronounce expel (audio)
expelled; expelling

transitive verb

: to force out : eject
expelled the smoke from her lungs
: to force to leave (a place, an organization, etc.) by official action : take away rights or privileges of membership
was expelled from college
expellable adjective

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.

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

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
Recent Examples on the Web Only five times in history has a member of the U.S. House of Representatives been expelled. Alexandra Hutzler, ABC News, 24 Nov. 2023 Two-thirds of the House would have to vote to expel Santos for the resolution to pass. Democrat-Gazette Staff From Wire Reports, arkansasonline.com, 17 Nov. 2023 The effort to expel Santos from Congress, which would require support from two-thirds of House members, is gaining steam among lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, per NBC’s Capitol Hill team. Mark Murray, NBC News, 17 Nov. 2023 While an earlier effort (led by New York Republicans) to expel Santos from Congress failed in the House on Nov. 1, another expulsion resolution was introduced on Friday by Republican Michael Guest, chairman of the House Ethics Committee. Virginia Chamlee, Peoplemag, 17 Nov. 2023 Only five members of the House have been expelled in the body’s history. Michael Gold, New York Times, 17 Nov. 2023 Santos easily survived a vote earlier this month to expel him from the House as most Republicans and 31 Democrats opted to withhold punishment while both his criminal trial and the House Ethics Committee investigation continued. Kevin Freking, Fortune, 16 Nov. 2023 If the expulsion had been successful, Santos would have become just the sixth House member to be expelled from Congress. Caitlin Yilek, CBS News, 16 Nov. 2023 These attacks resemble the violence carried out by right-wing Lebanese militias in 1982 and 1983, which threatened and expelled Palestinian populations in Sidon—again under the IDF’s watch. Sarah E. Parkinson, Foreign Affairs, 14 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'expel.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near expel

Cite this Entry

“Expel.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/expel. Accessed 4 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


ex·​pel ik-ˈspel How to pronounce expel (audio)
expelled; expelling
: to drive or force out
expel air from the lungs
: to force to leave usually by official action
expelled from school

More from Merriam-Webster on expel

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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