ex·​punge | \ ik-ˈspənj How to pronounce expunge (audio) \
expunged; expunging

Definition of expunge

transitive verb

1 : to strike out, obliterate, or mark for deletion
2 : to efface completely : destroy
3 : to eliminate from one's consciousness expunge a memory

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Other Words from expunge

expunger noun

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."

Examples of expunge in a Sentence

time and the weather have expunged any evidence that a thriving community once existed here
Recent Examples on the Web Prosecutors and officials in other states have also moved to expunge or dismiss pot convictions after recreational marijuana became legal. NBC News, 27 Sep. 2021 But a pardon does not expunge the record of the offense, or remove it from Wisconsin's online court records system, though those records are updated to reflect the pardon. Bruce Vielmetti, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 7 Sep. 2021 Schumer said the draft bill, being proposed with Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden and Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J. also aims to expunge criminal records and create banking systems that give small and minority businesses a seat at the table. Trish Turner And Allison Pecorin, ABC News, 14 July 2021 On July 12, Arizonans were granted the chance to expunge lower level marijuana convictions. AZCentral.com, 25 July 2021 Recently, a number of New York State laws have been implemented to expunge the records of trafficking victims like Ms. Blount, who have been forced or coerced into prostitution. New York Times, 23 July 2021 The Democratic bill in the Senate also aims to expunge the federal criminal records of nonviolent marijuana offenders. Harry Enten, CNN, 17 July 2021 Some news reports say Fox, which has been criticized at times by Trump, moved further right in its news and opinion programming to expunge the threat from the smaller competitors, which had drawn praise from the former president. Bill Keveney, USA TODAY, 30 June 2021 After the suit was filed, administrators agreed to expunge his grade for the class. NBC News, 15 June 2021

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

1602, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for expunge

Latin expungere to mark for deletion by dots, from ex- + pungere to prick — more at pungent

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Time Traveler for expunge

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The first known use of expunge was in 1602

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Last Updated

5 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Expunge.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/expunge. Accessed 17 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for expunge



English Language Learners Definition of expunge

: to remove (something) completely


transitive verb
ex·​punge | \ ik-ˈspənj How to pronounce expunge (audio) \
expunged; expunging

Legal Definition of expunge

: to cancel out or destroy completely expunge the court records of an acquitted defendant

Other Words from expunge

expungement noun

More from Merriam-Webster on expunge

Nglish: Translation of expunge for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of expunge for Arabic Speakers


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