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

The teenager and his father asked the court to overturn the boy’s suspension and expunge his disciplinary record. Washington Post, "Fairfax student accused of sexual misconduct loses discrimination case," 23 June 2019 Illinois is on the verge of legalizing marijuana with major new legislation that also would expunge criminal records of people with minor pot possession convictions. Dwight Adams, Indianapolis Star, "Illinois is close to legalizing recreational marijuana. Here's what that means for Indiana.," 6 June 2019 The proposal would instruct judges not to consider unpaid fines and fees when deciding whether to expunge or seal someone’s criminal record. Chicago Tribune, chicagotribune.com, "Morning Spin: Community advocates want a say in Amazon's HQ2 planning, plan event including 'giant Alexa costume'," 10 Apr. 2018 And over at West Philadelphia’s Shepard Recreation Center, dozens joined a workshop to learn the processes for getting a criminal record expunged or sealed. Aubrey Nagle, Philly.com, "Women's March returns, Christie's last day, Sixers beat Raptors | Morning Newsletter," 16 Jan. 2018 Felony convictions are turned into misdemeanor convictions, misdemeanors into citations, and some cases are completely expunged. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Up in smoke: Why thousands of marijuana convictions were reduced and others were not," 10 June 2019 So thoroughly has the memory of June 4th been expunged that the generation born after the incident remains largely unaware of this historic watershed. Laignee Barron / Hong Kong, Time, "How the Tiananmen Square Massacre Changed China Forever," 4 June 2019 His office began hosting workshops to help educate the public on sealing and expunging the records for minor arrests. David Ovalle, miamiherald, "After four decades in office, Broward State Attorney Mike Satz won’t run for re-election," 4 June 2019 Some states and cities have started post-legalization initiatives to expunge criminal records and open doors in the cannabis business for people with pot convictions. Jennifer Peltz, The Seattle Times, "Pot ‘legalization 2.0’: Social equity becomes a key question," 20 May 2019

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

5 Jul 2019

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

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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