ex·​pel ik-ˈspel How to pronounce expel (audio)
expelled; expelling

transitive verb

: to force out : eject
expelled the smoke from her lungs
: to force to leave (a place, an organization, etc.) by official action : take away rights or privileges of membership
was expelled from college
expellable adjective

Did you know?

To expel is to drive out, and its usual noun is expulsion. Expel is similar to eject, but expel suggests pushing out while eject suggests throwing out. Also, ejecting may only be temporary: the player ejected from a game may be back tomorrow, but the student expelled from school is probably out forever.

Choose the Right Synonym for expel

eject, expel, oust, evict mean to drive or force out.

eject carries an especially strong implication of throwing or thrusting out from within as a physical action.

ejected an obnoxious patron from the bar

expel stresses a thrusting out or driving away especially permanently which need not be physical.

a student expelled from college

oust implies removal or dispossession by power of the law or by force or compulsion.

police ousted the squatters

evict chiefly applies to turning out of house and home.

evicted for nonpayment of rent

Example Sentences

The club may expel members who do not follow the rules. She was expelled from school for bad behavior. expel air from the lungs
Recent Examples on the Web Although President Biden entered office pledging to create a less restrictive policy, his administration continued to use Title 42 to expel families while exempting unaccompanied minors. William A. Galston, WSJ, 20 Dec. 2022 The asylum rule has been used by the Biden administration to expel migrant families and single adults, though not children traveling alone. Dallas News, 7 Dec. 2022 While mifepristone is followed up with a second medication called misoprostol that causes the uterus to contract and expel tissue, the FDA rule only applies to the first drug. Bailey Schulz, USA TODAY, 12 Jan. 2023 However, any member could introduce a resolution to potentially punish or expel Santos. George Santos, Fox News, 11 Jan. 2023 Misoprostol is taken 24 to 48 hours later, causing the uterus to contract and expel pregnancy tissue. Matthew Perrone, Fortune, 4 Jan. 2023 The Beating Ghost festival, or Da Gui festival in Chinese, is an important ritual of Tibetan Buddhism and is believed to expel evil spirits and shake off troubles. CNN, 2 Jan. 2023 For much of the night, that offense threatened to expel top-seeded Georgia and end its quest to become the lone back-to-back champion in playoff history. Alan Blinder, New York Times, 1 Jan. 2023 The Biden administration has not yet announced efforts to expel Cuban or Nicaraguan migrants to Mexico or to offer them the legal pathway that some Venezuelans have been offered. CBS News, 22 Oct. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'expel.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


Middle English expellen, from Latin expellere, from ex- + pellere to drive — more at felt

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of expel was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near expel

Cite this Entry

“Expel.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/expel. Accessed 2 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition


ex·​pel ik-ˈspel How to pronounce expel (audio)
expelled; expelling
: to drive or force out
expel air from the lungs
: to force to leave usually by official action
expelled from school

More from Merriam-Webster on expel

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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