Synonym Chooser

How does the verb exterminate differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of exterminate are eradicate, extirpate, and uproot. While all these words mean "to effect the destruction or abolition of something," exterminate implies complete and immediate extinction by killing off all individuals.

exterminate cockroaches

When is eradicate a more appropriate choice than exterminate?

The meanings of eradicate and exterminate largely overlap; however, eradicate implies the driving out or elimination of something that has established itself.

a campaign to eradicate illiteracy

When is it sensible to use extirpate instead of exterminate?

The words extirpate and exterminate can be used in similar contexts, but 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

When might uproot be a better fit than exterminate?

In some situations, the words uproot and exterminate are roughly equivalent. However, uproot implies a forcible or violent removal and stresses displacement or dislodgment rather than immediate destruction.

the war uprooted thousands


Thesaurus Entries Near exterminate

Cite this Entry

“Exterminate.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Jun. 2024.

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