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[ih-reys] /ɪˈreɪs/
verb (used with object), erased, erasing.
to rub or scrape out, as letters or characters written, engraved, etc.; efface.
to eliminate completely:
She couldn't erase the tragic scene from her memory.
to obliterate (material recorded on magnetic tape or a magnetic disk):
She erased the message.
to obliterate recorded material from (a magnetic tape or disk):
He accidentally erased the tape.
Computers. to remove (data) from computer storage.
Slang. to murder:
The gang had to erase him before he informed on them.
verb (used without object), erased, erasing.
to give way to effacement readily or easily.
to obliterate characters, letters, markings, etc., from something.
Origin of erase
1595-1605; < Latin ērāsus (past participle of ērādere), equivalent to ē- e-1 + rāsus scraped; see raze
Related forms
erasability, noun
erasable, adjective
half-erased, adjective
nonerasable, adjective
unerasable, adjective
unerased, adjective
unerasing, adjective
Can be confused
erasable, irascible.
1. expunge, obliterate.
1, 3. restore.
Synonym Study
1. See cancel. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for erase
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I find she quite ignores it, if she has sums to do, or blots to erase.

    Meadow Grass Alice Brown
  • And first of all, erase from it all that you have heard me say in the council-room.

    Micah Clarke Arthur Conan Doyle
  • He could not erase errors, or paint them over, as an artist does.

    The Mystery of Murray Davenport Robert Neilson Stephens
  • Hence we erase all optional marks in the 1st and 3rd rows, but let them stand in the 2nd.

    A Tangled Tale Lewis Carroll
  • And if he depart, let him erase all the entries which have been made by him in the register kept by the magistrates.

    Laws Plato
British Dictionary definitions for erase


to obliterate or rub out (something written, typed, etc)
(transitive) to destroy all traces of; remove completely: time erases grief
to remove (a recording) from (magnetic tape)
(transitive) (computing) to replace (data) on a storage device with characters representing an absence of data
Derived Forms
erasable, adjective
Word Origin
C17: from Latin ērādere to scrape off, from ex-1 + rādere to scratch, scrape
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 erase

c.1600, from Latin erasus, past participle of eradere "scrape out, scrape off, shave," from ex- "out" (see ex-) + radere "to scrape" (see raze). Of magnetic tape, from 1945. Related: Erased; erasing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for erase



To kill; rub out (1940s+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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