Definition of expunge
1 : to strike out, obliterate, or mark for deletion
2 : to efface completely : destroy
3 : to eliminate (as a memory) from one's consciousness
expunge was our Word of the Day on 02/27/2013. Hear the podcast!
Examples of expunge in a sentence
time and the weather have expunged any evidence that a thriving community once existed here
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."
Origin and Etymology of expunge
Latin expungere to mark for deletion by dots, from ex- + pungere to prick — more at pungent
First Known Use: 1602
EXPUNGE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of expunge for English Language Learners
: to remove (something) completely
Legal Definition of expunge
: to cancel out or destroy completely expunge the court records of an acquitted defendant
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up expunge? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).