ex·​punge | \ ik-ˈspənj How to pronounce expunge (audio) \
expunged; expunging

Definition of expunge

transitive verb

1 : to strike out, obliterate, or mark for deletion
2 : to efface completely : destroy
3 : to eliminate from one's consciousness expunge a memory

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Other Words from expunge

expunger noun

Did You Know?

In medieval and Renaissance manuscripts, a series of dots was used to mark mistakes or to label material that should be deleted from a text, and those deletion dots can help you remember the history of "expunge." They were known as "puncta delentia." The "puncta" part of the name derives from the Latin verb pungere, which can be translated as "to prick or sting" (and you can imagine that a scribe may have felt stung when his mistakes were so punctuated in a manuscript). "Pungere" is also an ancestor of "expunge," as well as a parent of other dotted, pointed, or stinging terms such as "punctuate," "compunction," "poignant," "puncture," and "pungent."

Examples of expunge in a Sentence

time and the weather have expunged any evidence that a thriving community once existed here
Recent Examples on the Web There is a happy ending; the case is being dismissed and the Cleveland County Court Clerk has been direct to expunge the charges, Stanish reports. Abigail Rosenthal, Chron, "This Texas woman had an unknown felony for years because of a 'Sabrina the Teenage Witch' tape," 27 Apr. 2021 Across the country, 17 states have created programs to expunge marijuana charges. al, "Birmingham now pardons marijuana offenders, but so far just nine people forgiven," 13 Apr. 2021 New York state has legalized marijuana for adults and will expunge the criminal records of people previously convicted of crimes that would be legal under the new law. Ivan Pereira, ABC News, "New York legalizes recreational marijuana, expunges former pot convictions," 31 Mar. 2021 What’s needed are new laws to allow people to expunge evictions from their records, giving them a better chance at finding housing, and to guarantee legal counsel in civil cases, like evictions. Bryce Covert, The New Republic, "Why Landlords Target Mothers for Eviction," 16 Mar. 2021 The New Mexico bill included a measure allowing people with a criminal record for possessing the drug for personal use to expunge past convictions. Washington Post, "New Mexico set to legalize marijuana as New York ends its pot prohibition," 1 Apr. 2021 Online applications to expunge certain types of convictions must be submitted by April 5. Sarah Bahari, Dallas News, "Tarrant County residents, here’s how to get some criminal charges erased," 22 Mar. 2021 The bill has the backing of a wide array of clergy from across Connecticut, but Republican lawmakers are skeptical, pointing out the state already has a Board of Pardons and Paroles that can expunge records based on requests. Russell Blair, courant.com, "Connecticut Politics Week in Review: Federal stimulus will bring $10B to Connecticut to help with COVID-19 recovery," 12 Mar. 2021 Though East Germany has tried to expunge its Soviet past, much of it is still peopled by tangible ghosts. Sigrid Macrae, Harper's Magazine, "Two Germanys," 16 Mar. 2021

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

1602, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for expunge

Latin expungere to mark for deletion by dots, from ex- + pungere to prick — more at pungent

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Time Traveler for expunge

Time Traveler

The first known use of expunge was in 1602

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Statistics for expunge

Last Updated

2 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Expunge.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/expunge. Accessed 9 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for expunge



English Language Learners Definition of expunge

formal : to remove (something) completely


transitive verb
ex·​punge | \ ik-ˈspənj How to pronounce expunge (audio) \
expunged; expunging

Legal Definition of expunge

: to cancel out or destroy completely expunge the court records of an acquitted defendant

Other Words from expunge

expungement noun

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Comments on expunge

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