ex·punge | \ ik-ˈspənj \
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

The first borrowers likely won’t have debt expunged until 2027. Josh Mitchell, WSJ, "Student-Debt Forgiveness Is a Wonderful Boon, Until the IRS Comes Calling," 24 June 2018 Convictions that had been expunged or otherwise modified after the fact would still count as convictions if there was any evidence that the criminal record had been altered for immigration purposes. Dara Lind, Vox, "Exclusive: Trump administration plan would bar people who enter illegally from getting asylum," 29 June 2018 The Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office on Friday announced the start of an outreach effort for people under 21 to have their records of low-level offenses expunged. Marc Freeman, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Prosecutor offering teens a way to get rid of criminal records," 22 June 2018 As John Sharp reports for AL.com, last month interim education superintendent Ed Richardson expunged the files of the students who had been disciplined for their role in the protest. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "58 Years Later, Alabama Clears the Records of 29 Black Students Who Protested Segregation," 5 June 2018 Sauter, that person said, contends his dismissal violated laws restricting what employers can ask applicants about arrest records that have been expunged. Simone Foxman, Bloomberg.com, "Iconiq Fires Manager Over Old Sex Charge," 20 May 2018 Eden House clients also often have extensive legal issues, so Eden House works with a team of lawyers to assist women in getting their records expunged. Kevin Litten, NOLA.com, "How human trafficking victims can get help in New Orleans," 17 Feb. 2018 Common needs include expunging a criminal record, help with job searches or maintenance issues on their block, Lee said. Meredith Colias-pete, Post-Tribune, "Gary experiences weekend of peace after wave of violence," 2 July 2018 Last month, the city settled with the two men, declining to prosecute, expunging their arrest record and creating a $200,000 fund to assist young entrepreneurs in Philadelphia. NBC News, "Philadelphia police alter trespassing policy after Starbucks arrests," 8 June 2018

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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Statistics for expunge

Last Updated

13 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for expunge

The first known use of expunge was in 1602

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More Definitions for expunge



English Language Learners Definition of expunge

: to remove (something) completely


transitive verb
ex·punge | \ ik-ˈspənj \
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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