blot out


Obliterate, wipe out of existence or memory, as in At least one Indian nation was blotted out as the pioneers moved west, or The trauma of the accident blotted out all her memory of recent events. This idiom, first recorded in 1516, uses the verb to blot in the sense of making something illegible by spotting or staining it with ink. The New Testament has it (Acts 3:19): “Repent ye ... that your sins may be blotted out.”

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.