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

Lawyers explain how to get criminal convictions expunged from records, accountants talk personal finance and professional athletes discuss teamwork. New York Times, "A Restaurant Takes On the Opioid Crisis, One Worker at a Time," 10 July 2018 Long expunged from memory, the Horde is trending in Russia again, the subject of movies and a popular TV series. Yaroslav Trofimov, WSJ, "Russia’s Turn to Its Asian Past," 6 July 2018 The bill would legalize the possession, sale and use of marijuana for people 21 and older in North Dakota and would expunge marijuana convictions from North Dakotans’ criminal records, Christopher reports. Colby Itkowitz, Washington Post, "The Health 202: 'ACA' removed from swaths of Medicaid.gov website, watchdog reports," 12 July 2018 Senate Bill 561, which was previously a bill about expunging criminal convictions, was revised into a tax bill that would impact sports stadiums such as the Panthers stadium. Katherine Peralta And Ely Portillo, charlotteobserver, "Carolina Panthers, Charlotte Knights could get big tax breaks on land around stadiums," 13 June 2018 Those convicted of, or arrested on, minor, nonviolent crimes were able to petition the courts to expunge their records under a 2016 law, but that is a bureaucratic procedure that often requires the expense of a lawyer. Gillian Mcgoldrick, Philly.com, "Long-awaited 'clean slate' bill moves to Gov. Wolf," 22 June 2018 Billy Graham stands as a more recent exemplar of how a white racist Christian past can be completely expunged in the glory of death. Eboni Marshall Turman, The Root, "‘If God Is White, Kill God’: Why Dr. James Cone Was Once the Most Hated Theologian in America," 7 May 2018 But the court majority, pointing out that Buza was convicted, eventually had his DNA taken and never tried to have his genetic profile expunged, decided his case was not the right forum for tackling constitutional questions affecting the innocent. Maura Dolan, latimes.com, "California Supreme Court lets stand controversial law allowing DNA collection upon arrest," 3 Apr. 2018 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

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

8 Nov 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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