erase


erase
erase, expunge, cancel, efface, obliterate, blot out, delete mean to strike out something so that it no longer has effect or existence.
Erase basically implies a scraping or rubbing out of something that is written, engraved, or painted
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erase a word

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erase a line of an inscription

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In extended use erase often refers to something that has been eradicated as if by scraping or rubbing out after it has impressed or imprinted itself on the memory or has become part of an unwritten record
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have a few years totally erased me from your memory?— Gray

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the old boyhood notion . . . that a town and a people could remake him and erase from his body the marks of what he thought of as his inferior birth— Anderson

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Expunge implies, possibly through confusion with sponge, so thoroughgoing an erasure that the thing affected is wiped out completely
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a woman's history, you know: certain chapters expungedMeredith

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the most primitive ways of thinking may not yet be wholly expungedJames

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Basically cancel means to strike out written material (originally with lines crossed latticewise), but it also may apply to an invalidating or nullifying by other means; thus, a postage stamp is canceled to prevent reuse, usually with a hand device or a machine that stamps an indelible mark or device on its face; a transportation ticket is similarly canceled with a punch that removes a part of it; a will is canceled by physically destroying it
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the worn or soiled currency declared unfit for further circulation is transferred to our custodians of unfit currency for cancellation on a canceling machine which is designed to punch the symbol "L" in each corner of each package of 100 bills, and to simultaneously cut each package in half lengthwise— George Parker

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In extended use cancel implies an action that completely negatives something, whether by a legal annulling Cancellation consists of any act, such as the surrender or intentional destruction of the instrument, that indicates the intention to cancel or renounce the obligation— Fisk & Snapp

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or by a revoking or rescinding
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cancel a meeting

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the laboratory door does not lock behind him and bar his return any more than it swung shut to imprison Darwin and forever cancel his status as a naturalist— Amer. Naturalist

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or often by a neutralization of one thing by its opposite
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the qualities that in the end nullified his great strength of character and remarkable gifts, just as his irritability cancelled out his natural kindness— Osbert Sitwell

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ironies breed before our eyes, cancel each other out— Kristol

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Efface, more strongly than erase, implies the complete removal of something impressed or imprinted on a surface
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constant use gradually effaces the figures and letters on a coin

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efface the offensive murals in a public building

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As a result, in its extended use, efface often implies destruction of every visible or sensible sign of a thing's existence
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while nations have effaced nations, and death has gathered to his fold long lines of mighty kings— Words wo rth

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the attempt to efface the boundaries between prose and verse— Lowes

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Often, especially in reflexive use, it implies an attempt to make inconspicuous or vague
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efface oneself in the company of others

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Obliterate and blot out both imply rendering a thing undecipherable by smearing it with something which hides its existence
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a smear of decisive lead-colored paint had been laid on to obliterate Henchard's name— Hardy

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blot out with ink a passage in a manuscript

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Both terms are more often used, however, with the implication of the removal of every trace of a thing's existence
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the falling snow rapidly obliterated all signs of approaching spring

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a successful love . . . obliterated all other failures— Krutch

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then rose the seed of chaos, and of night, to blot out order, and extinguish XighiPope

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Delete implies marking something in a manuscript or proof for omission from a text that is to be published or distributed
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Whenever you feel an impulse to perpetrate a piece of exceptionally fine writing, obey it—wholeheartedly—and delete it before sending your manuscript to press— Quiller-Couch

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But delete also often suggests eradication or elimination by the exercise of arbitrary power
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the censor deleted all the interesting parts of the letter

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a compulsion to make plays out of books, musicals out of plays ... to insert scenes, delete characters, include commentators— Kronenberger

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Analogous words: annul, *nullify, negate: *abolish, extinguish
Contrasted words: imprint, impress, print, stamp (see corresponding nouns at IMPRESSION)

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • erase — e‧rase [ɪˈreɪz ǁ ɪˈreɪs] verb [transitive] COMPUTING if you erase information on a computer, you remove it; = delete erasure noun [countable, uncountable] * * * erase UK US /ɪˈreɪz/ US  /ɪˈreɪs/ verb [T] …   Financial and business terms

  • Erase — may refer to: *Deletion *File wiping * Erase , an album by Dutch death metal band Gorefest. * Erase , a song on the 2007 Delta S album Voyage to Isis ee also*Erase/Rewind *Eraser (disambiguation) …   Wikipedia

  • Erase — E*rase ([ e]*r[=a]s ), v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Erased} ([ e]*r[=a]st ); p. pr. & vb. n.. {Erasing}.] [L. erasus, p. p. of eradere to erase; e out + radere to scrape, scratch, shave. See {Rase}.] 1. To rub or scrape out, as letters or characters… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • erase — vt erased, eras·ing: to seal and protect (criminal records) from disclosure Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of Law. Merriam Webster. 1996. erase …   Law dictionary

  • erase — erase; erase·ment; …   English syllables

  • erase — [ē rās′, irās′] vt. erased, erasing [< L erasus, pp. of eradere, to scratch out < e , out + radere, to scrape, scratch: see RAT] 1. to rub, scrape, or wipe out (esp. written or engraved letters); efface; expunge 2. to remove (something… …   English World dictionary

  • Erase —   [engl.], löschen …   Universal-Lexikon

  • erase — c.1600, from L. erasus, pp. of eradere scrape out, scrape off, shave, from ex out (see EX (Cf. ex )) + radere to scrape (see RAZE (Cf. raze)). Of magnetic tape, from 1945. Related: Erased; erasing …   Etymology dictionary

  • erase — [v] remove; rub out abolish, annul, black out, blank, blot, blue pencil*, cancel, cross out, cut, cut out, delete, disannul, dispatch, efface, eliminate, excise, expunge, extirpate, gut, kill, launder*, negate, nullify, obliterate, scratch out*,… …   New thesaurus

  • erase — ► VERB ▪ rub out or obliterate; remove all traces of. DERIVATIVES erasable adjective erasure noun. ORIGIN Latin eradere scrape away …   English terms dictionary


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