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

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 His Facebook and Linkedin pages are not operating, and all references and contact information have been expunged from Johns Hopkins websites and directories. Liz Bowie, baltimoresun.com, "Tenured Johns Hopkins professor resigns after school finds he violated sexual misconduct policy," 25 July 2019 Some legal aid groups, such as Illinois Legal Aid Online, also provide help for people seeking to seal or expunge their records. Robert Mccoppin, chicagotribune.com, "Though prosecutions could be fewer, marijuana supporters remind users that current Illinois pot laws stay in effect till Jan. 1," 3 June 2019 In addition to employers, the fair brings in services to help with everything from getting a high school equivalency diploma to expunging criminal records. Robert Channick, chicagotribune.com, "Hope in Englewood’s streets: Hundreds line up looking for work at ‘Jobs on the Block’ career fair," 22 Aug. 2019 Cases from 2000 through 2012 are to be expunged by Jan. 1, 2023. Robert Mccoppin, chicagotribune.com, "Expunging marijuana convictions: What you need to know," 30 Aug. 2019 On Tuesday, Chicago’s top prosecutor announced a partnership with Code For America that will push to automatically expunge tens of thousands of minor marijuana cases in Cook County under a new law passed in Illinois. Essence, "Chicago Moves Toward Expunging Minor Marijuana Cases," 28 Aug. 2019 The judge who refused to expunge the conviction has said pardons don’t erase convictions or the facts of cases and that Arpaio’s clemency only mooted his possible punishments, according to the AP. NBC News, "Advocates, Democrats decry Joe Arpaio's latest run for sheriff," 26 Aug. 2019 Over the next week, University of Detroit Mercy law students and other legal professionals will visit a handful of rural northern Michigan counties to help residents expunge their criminal records. Angie Jackson, Detroit Free Press, "Northern Michigan residents can get help expunging criminal records at these clinics," 25 July 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

11 Oct 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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