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 No sooner was the Russian job done than the authorities began to expunge all memory of America’s help. The Economist, "A century ago America saved millions of Russians from starvation," 9 Nov. 2019 The women were exonerated by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals in 2016, and two years later had their criminal records expunged. Ashley Mcbride, ExpressNews.com, "‘San Antonio Four’ to hold fundraiser celebrating their exoneration," 13 Oct. 2019 The law allows people to have certain cannabis convictions expunged from their records. Ally Marotti, chicagotribune.com, "Cook County is partnering with a tech nonprofit to expunge cannabis records. Here’s what to know about Code for America and Clear My Record.," 28 Aug. 2019 The measure also allows people convicted of marijuana possession crimes eliminated by the new law to petition the courts to have those convictions expunged from their records as long as the person does not pose a risk to public safety. Sarah Parvini, latimes.com, "San Francisco will use new technology to automatically reduce marijuana convictions under Prop. 64: 'It’s about leveling the playing field'," 15 May 2018 Others, like the shooter who killed 9 in Dayton, Ohio, on Sunday, had juvenile charges that were expunged. Tara Law, Time, "Background Checks Won't Stop Many Mass Shootings. We Need Them Anyway, Experts Say," 10 Aug. 2019 There's this voraciousness that Winslow has that can never be expunged. Emma Dibdin, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Handmaid's Tale," 1 Aug. 2019 The department has also started addressing concerns surrounding officer disciplinary files that might have been wrongly expunged after the department incorrectly categorized those cases. Jessica Anderson, baltimoresun.com, "Baltimore Police struggle to investigate their own, new consent decree report says," 23 July 2019 It’s unclear what kind of charges have been expunged. Ashley Remkus | Aremkus@al.com, al, "Those wrongly accused of violent crimes in Alabama remain haunted by dropped charges," 13 Sep. 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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Time Traveler for expunge

Time Traveler

The first known use of expunge was in 1602

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Statistics for expunge

Last Updated

22 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Expunge.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/expunge?pronunciation&lang=en_us&dir=e&file=expung01. Accessed 5 December 2019.

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More Definitions for expunge


How to pronounce expunge (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of expunge

formal : to remove (something) completely
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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