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[ih-feys] /ɪˈfeɪs/
verb (used with object), effaced, effacing.
to wipe out; do away with; expunge:
to efface one's unhappy memories.
to rub out, erase, or obliterate (outlines, traces, inscriptions, etc.).
to make (oneself) inconspicuous; withdraw (oneself) modestly or shyly.
Origin of efface
From the Middle French word effacer, dating back to 1480-90. See ef-, face
Related forms
effaceable, adjective
effacement, noun
effacer, noun
uneffaceable, adjective
uneffaced, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for effacement
Historical Examples
  • No mutilation, no gore; just an effacement—prompt and absolute—'there wasn't any.'

    Concerning Cats Helen M. Winslow
  • Her pink and white character had also suffered the effacement of the years.

    The Belovd Vagabond William J. Locke
  • An impression of passing away, of the effacement of individual life.

  • Her remedy seems to be effacement for herself and bribes for her young barbarians.

    The Open Question Elizabeth Robins
  • My effacement was only temporary, as Siringo appeared at his room shortly afterward.

    The Outlet Andy Adams
  • And he had succeeded in this effacement of his life in America; it seemed wiped out of the annals of his memory.

    Footsteps of Fate Louis Couperus
  • The effacement of life was not so marked but that, entering uninformed, he might have supposed her sleeping.

    Wessex Tales Thomas Hardy
  • Gaps in our collections are being continually filled up, to the effacement of our dividing lines of demarcation.

    Evolution, Old & New Samuel Butler
  • But in a few more minutes, be it from one cause or from the other, the effacement is complete.

    The Mediterranean

    T. G. (Thomas Gray) Bonney, E. A. R. Ball, H. D. Traill, Grant Allen, and Arthur Griffiths
  • The lawless independence of the nobles and the effacement of the royal authority may be estimated from a single example.

British Dictionary definitions for effacement


verb (transitive)
to obliterate or make dim: to efface a memory
to make (oneself) inconspicuous or humble through modesty, cowardice, or obsequiousness
to rub out (a line, drawing, etc); erase
Derived Forms
effaceable, adjective
effacement, noun
effacer, noun
Word Origin
C15: from French effacer, literally: to obliterate the face; see face
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for effacement



late 15c., from Middle French effacer, from Old French esfacier (12c.) "to wipe out, destroy," literally "to remove the face," from es- "out" (see ex-) + face "appearance," from Latin facies "face" (see face (n.)). Related: Effaced; effacing. Cf. deface.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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