ex·​pel | \ ik-ˈspel How to pronounce expel (audio) \
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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from expel

expellable \ ik-​ˈspe-​lə-​bəl How to pronounce expellable (audio) \ 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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Both were expelled, despite protesting their innocence. The Economist, "Foreign travellers to America face scrutiny of their online activity," 8 June 2019 Senators can only be expelled by a highly extraordinary two-thirds vote of their colleagues, which has not occured since the Civil War. Gregg Re, Fox News, "Top Democrat mum on whether Cory Booker faces ethics probe for releasing confidential Kavanaugh docs," 9 Sep. 2018 As Miriam Berger writes for Vox, during Israel’s war for independence, which Palestinians call the Nakba, or catastrophe, at least 700,000 Palestinians were expelled or fled their homes. Alexia Underwood, Vox, "The US plans to end all support for UN agency that aids Palestinian refugees," 31 Aug. 2018 Russia was expelled from what at the time was the Group of 8 in 2014 after invading Ukraine and annexing Crimea. Author: Jim Puzzanghera, Anchorage Daily News, "Trump leaves G-7 summit early after rattling allies with trade threats," 9 June 2018 Scattered about the set, large electric fans expel ribbons of cool air but ultimately provide little relief from the jungly May heat that has crept into the studio. Jason Parham, WIRED, "How Oprah’s Network Finally Found Its Voice," 19 June 2018 According to the Archdiocese, Sun has been expelled from the school. CBS News, "Police: Exchange student accused of shooting plot had over 1,600 rounds of ammunition," 3 Apr. 2018 Pengilly was expelled from the games last week after a run-in with a security guard. Stephen Wade, Houston Chronicle, "IOC leaves decision on Russians at Olympics until Sunday," 24 Feb. 2018 The reporters, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, were arrested in December 2017 after investigating atrocities committed by the Myanmar military in its campaign to expel the Rohingya Muslim minority. Jon Emont, WSJ, "Myanmar to Free Thousands of Prisoners—But Not the Reuters Reporters," 17 Apr. 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about expel

Statistics for expel

Last Updated

13 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for expel

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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 How to pronounce expel (audio) \
expelled; expelling

Kids Definition of expel

1 : to force to leave He was expelled from school.
2 : to force out expel air from lungs

Keep scrolling for more

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).


standardized text or formulaic language

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!