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

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 their 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 After nearly two hours of debate, the council voted 41 to 7 to approve a motion by Senate President Pro Tempore Jimmy Hickey, R-Texarkana, to expunge its June 17 approval of spending authority for the disbursal of the funds. Stephen Simpson, Arkansas Online, 22 July 2022 China’s new leader, Deng Xiaoping, did not wish to expunge Mao’s legacy. Michael Schuman, The Atlantic, 21 June 2022 Rarely do those that seek to expunge those AI biases take a much deeper look underneath to get a broader semblance of what might be happening. Lance Eliot, Forbes, 22 May 2022 The removal of statues threatens to expunge Confederate history in the South and other white historical figures elsewhere. Luke Broadwater, New York Times, 16 May 2022 This inexpensive, widespread digital access could also undermine people’s efforts to expunge their records, according to Burton. Becky Jacobs, The Salt Lake Tribune, 4 Feb. 2022 To expunge the virus of imperialism from the national body. Jay Nordlinger, National Review, 2 June 2022 Private-sector funds like Amazon’s could also essentially expunge any debt later on. Washington Post, 11 Apr. 2022 With great fanfare, Bibb announced April 6 that his administration was filing motions to expunge 4,077 minor-misdemeanor convictions and charges filed in Cleveland Municipal Court since 2017. Cliff Pinckard, cleveland, 9 May 2022 See More

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.

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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Last Updated

25 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Expunge.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/expunge. Accessed 20 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for expunge


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

More from Merriam-Webster on expunge

Nglish: Translation of expunge for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of expunge for Arabic Speakers


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