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verb (used with object), e·lim·i·nat·ed, e·lim·i·nat·ing.
  1. to remove or get rid of, especially as being in some way undesirable: to eliminate risks; to eliminate hunger.
  2. to omit, especially as being unimportant or irrelevant; leave out: I have eliminated all statistical tables, which are of interest only to the specialist.
  3. to remove from further consideration or competition, especially by defeating in a contest.
  4. to eradicate or kill: to eliminate the enemy.
  5. Physiology. to void or expel from an organism.
  6. Mathematics. to remove (a quantity) from an equation by elimination.

Origin of eliminate

1560–70; 1915–20 for def 4; < Latin ēlīminātus turned out of doors (past participle of ēlīmināre), equivalent to ē- e-1 + līmin-, stem of līmen threshold + -ātus -ate1
Related formse·lim·i·na·bil·i·ty [ih-lim-uh-nuh-bil-i-tee] /ɪˌlɪm ə nəˈbɪl ɪ ti/, noune·lim·i·na·tive, adjectivenon·e·lim·i·na·tive, adjectivepre·e·lim·i·nate, verb (used with object), pre·e·lim·i·nat·ed, pre·e·lim·i·nat·ing.un·e·lim·i·nat·ed, adjectivewell-e·lim·i·nat·ed, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for eliminate


verb (tr)
  1. to remove or take out; get rid of
  2. to reject as trivial or irrelevant; omit from consideration
  3. to remove (a competitor, team, etc) from a contest, usually by defeat
  4. slang to murder in a cold-blooded manner
  5. physiol to expel (waste matter) from the body
  6. maths to remove (an unknown variable) from two or more simultaneous equations
Derived Formseliminable, adjectiveeliminability, nouneliminant, nouneliminative or eliminatory, adjectiveeliminator, noun

Word Origin for eliminate

C16: from Latin ēlīmināre to turn out of the house, from e- out + līmen threshold


Eliminate is sometimes wrongly used to talk about avoiding the repetition of something undesirable: we must prevent (not eliminate) further mistakes of this kind
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 eliminate

1560s, from Latin eliminatus, past participle of eliminare "thrust out of doors, expel," from ex limine "off the threshold," from ex "off, out" (see ex-) + limine, ablative of limen "threshold" (see limit (n.)).

Used literally at first; sense of "exclude" first attested 1714; sense of "expel waste from the body" is c.1795. Related: Eliminated; eliminating; eliminative; eliminatory.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper