ex·​tir·​pate | \ ˈek-stər-ˌpāt How to pronounce extirpate (audio) \
extirpated; extirpating

Definition of extirpate

transitive verb

1a : to destroy completely : wipe out
b : to pull up by the root
2 : to cut out by surgery

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Other Words from extirpate

extirpation \ ˌek-​stər-​ˈpā-​shən How to pronounce extirpate (audio) \ noun
extirpator \ ˈek-​stər-​ˌpā-​tər How to pronounce extirpate (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for extirpate

exterminate, extirpate, eradicate, uproot mean to effect the destruction or abolition of something. exterminate implies complete and immediate extinction by killing off all individuals. exterminate cockroaches extirpate implies extinction of a race, family, species, or sometimes an idea or doctrine by destruction or removal of its means of propagation. many species have been extirpated from the area eradicate implies the driving out or elimination of something that has established itself. a campaign to eradicate illiteracy uproot implies a forcible or violent removal and stresses displacement or dislodgment rather than immediate destruction. the war uprooted thousands

Dig Out the History of Extirpate

If we do a little digging, we discover that extirpate finds its roots in, well, roots (and stumps). Early English uses of the word in the 16th century carried the meaning of "to clear of stumps" or "to pull something up by the root." Extirpate grew out of a combination of the Latin prefix ex- and the Latin noun stirps, meaning "trunk" or "root." The word stirp itself remains rooted in our own language as a term meaning "a line descending from a common ancestor."

Examples of extirpate in a Sentence

the triumph of modern medicine in extirpating certain diseases
Recent Examples on the Web The Chinese Communists aren’t trying to extirpate every last trace of theism, thereby inviting the undivided opposition of religious believers and institutions (as the Soviets did with regard to John Paul II’s Vatican). Cameron Hilditch, National Review, "In the Second Cold War, Religious Americans Must Lead the Way," 21 Feb. 2021 The modern left’s mission to extirpate sin from society is the product of a secular religion of the most austere sort. Gerard Baker, WSJ, "How the Woke Stole Christmas," 21 Dec. 2020 The animals are also making inroads into parts of western Oregon where they’ve been extirpated for decades, including a new pack in Lane and Douglas counties. oregonlive, "Oregon’s wolf count up to 158, but famous canid OR-7 likely dead," 16 Apr. 2020 The gray wolf is believed to have been extirpated from the state in the 1920s. Suzanne Espinosa Solis, SFChronicle.com, "California’s celebrated gray wolf, OR-7, presumed dead," 15 Apr. 2020 Elk, native to Wisconsin but extirpated in the 1800s due to unregulated hunting and habitat loss, have been re-established in a northern herd of about 260 animals near Clam Lake and a central herd of about 75 near Black River Falls. Paul A. Smith, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Smith: View from tree stand invokes optimism for 2020 in the Wisconsin outdoors," 1 Jan. 2020 Historically, Chinese sturgeons were found across Asia, including China, Japan, and the Korean Peninsula, but they have been extirpated from most regions due to habitat loss and overfishing. National Geographic, "Chinese sturgeon," 25 Feb. 2020 The American mythology of self-invention and reinvention cannot be extirpated in its entirety as a mere philosophical error. Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review, "The Marked Individual," 24 Jan. 2020 Seabeach amaranth, an Atlantic Coast native once thought extirpated from the state, has rebounded despite long odds, Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Catherine McCabe says. USA TODAY, "Bounty of bags, parrot false alarm, virtual hike: News from around our 50 states," 6 Jan. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'extirpate.' 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 extirpate

1535, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for extirpate

Latin exstirpatus, past participle of exstirpare, from ex- + stirp-, stirps trunk, root

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The first known use of extirpate was in 1535

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Last Updated

5 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Extirpate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/extirpate. Accessed 5 Mar. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of extirpate

formal : to destroy or remove (something) completely

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