- to throw off in scales, splinters, etc.
- to remove the surface of (a bone, the skin, etc.) in scales or laminae.
- to throw off scales or flakes; peel off in thin fragments: The bark of some trees exfoliates.
- to split or swell into a scaly aggregate, as certain minerals when heated.
- to separate into rudely concentric layers or sheets, as certain rocks during weathering.
- Medicine/Medical. to separate and come off in scales, as scaling skin or any structure separating in flakes.
Origin of exfoliate
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for exfoliate
“I enjoy dating beardy blokes because you get to kiss and exfoliate at the same time,” she quips to The Daily Beast.An Ode to Shaggy Men
October 23, 2009
The loch having been drained away, we proceeded to exfoliate the crannog.Trees. A Woodland Notebook
- (tr) to wash (a part of the body) with a granular cosmetic preparation in order to remove dead cells from the skin's surface
- (of bark, skin, etc) to peel off in (layers, flakes, or scales)
- (intr) (of rocks or minerals) to shed the thin outermost layer because of weathering or heating
- (of some minerals, esp mica) to split or cause to split into thin flakesa factory to exfoliate vermiculite
C17: from Late Latin exfoliāre to strip off leaves, from Latin folium leaf
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 exfoliate
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper