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

Wolves were extirpated from California in 1924, and are just now starting to enter the state again. Eduardo Medina, SFChronicle.com, "Gray wolf pups at Oakland Zoo symbolize revival for California-native species," 5 July 2019 Wolves are native to Wisconsin but were extirpated by the 1950s through bounties, poisoning and unregulated hunting. Paul A. Smith, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Smith: Wisconsin was home to at least 914 wolves last winter. How does that compare, and what's the significance?," 23 May 2019 Today, the lark has been extirpated from 90 percent of its native range, living only in South Puget Sound, dredge disposal sites in the lower Columbia River and in the Willamette Valley. oregonlive.com, "Judge orders feds to reconsider endangered species status of native Northwest songbird," 11 June 2019 Wolves are native to Wisconsin but were considered extirpated by the middle 20th century due to unregulated hunting, poisoning and bounties. Paul A. Smith, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Smith: With at least 900 wolves in the state, it's time to gauge public attitudes again," 6 June 2018 So in 2008, when biologists found that the first wolves had returned to Washington since the animals were extirpated there in the 1930s, officials pledged to learn from other states’ mistakes. New York Times, "Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf Scientist?," 5 July 2018 Wild turkeys are native to Wisconsin but were extirpated by unregulated hunting in the 1800s. Paul A. Smith, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Wisconsin spring turkey harvest drops 10%," 2 June 2018 The bird is considered extirpated, or nearly extinct, in the Garden State. Frank Kummer, Philly.com, "Wild quail, nearly vanished in N.J., mount fragile comeback," 2 May 2018 But others, like London’s mayor, intend to extirpate them by whatever means necessary. Melanie Finn, New York Times, "When a Young Immigrant Vanishes in London, Can a Wildlife Biologist Help?," 20 Apr. 2018

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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Statistics for extirpate

Last Updated

11 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for extirpate

The first known use of extirpate was in 1535

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English Language Learners Definition of extirpate

formal : to destroy or remove (something) completely

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More from Merriam-Webster on extirpate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with extirpate

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for extirpate

Spanish Central: Translation of extirpate

Nglish: Translation of extirpate for Spanish Speakers

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