verb (used with object), e·rased, e·ras·ing.
  1. to rub or scrape out, as letters or characters written, engraved, etc.; efface.
  2. to eliminate completely: She couldn't erase the tragic scene from her memory.
  3. to obliterate (material recorded on magnetic tape or a magnetic disk): She erased the message.
  4. to obliterate recorded material from (a magnetic tape or disk): He accidentally erased the tape.
  5. Computers. to remove (data) from computer storage.
  6. Slang. to murder: The gang had to erase him before he informed on them.
verb (used without object), e·rased, e·ras·ing.
  1. to give way to effacement readily or easily.
  2. 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 formse·ras·a·bil·i·ty, noune·ras·a·ble, adjectivehalf-e·rased, adjectivenon·e·ras·a·ble, adjectiveun·e·ras·a·ble, adjectiveun·e·rased, adjectiveun·e·ras·ing, adjective
Can be confusederasable irascible

Synonyms for erase

Synonym study

1. See cancel.

Antonyms for erase

1, 3. restore. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for erasable


  1. to obliterate or rub out (something written, typed, etc)
  2. (tr) to destroy all traces of; remove completelytime erases grief
  3. to remove (a recording) from (magnetic tape)
  4. (tr) computing to replace (data) on a storage device with characters representing an absence of data
Derived Formserasable, adjective

Word Origin for erase

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

Word Origin and History for erasable

1849, from erase + -able.



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