verb (used with object), ef·faced, ef·fac·ing.

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 formsef·face·a·ble, adjectiveef·face·ment, nounef·fac·er, nounun·ef·face·a·ble, adjectiveun·ef·faced, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for effacement

Historical Examples of effacement

  • 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

British Dictionary definitions for effacement


verb (tr)

to obliterate or make dimto efface a memory
to make (oneself) inconspicuous or humble through modesty, cowardice, or obsequiousness
to rub out (a line, drawing, etc); erase
Derived Formseffaceable, adjectiveeffacement, nouneffacer, noun

Word Origin for efface

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

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