[ eks-foh-lee-eyt ]
/ ɛksˈfoʊ liˌeɪt /
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verb (used with object), ex·fo·li·at·ed, ex·fo·li·at·ing.

to throw off in scales, splinters, etc.
to remove the surface of (a bone, the skin, etc.) in scales or laminae.

verb (used without object), ex·fo·li·at·ed, ex·fo·li·at·ing.

to throw off scales or flakes; peel off in thin fragments: The bark of some trees exfoliates.
  1. to split or swell into a scaly aggregate, as certain minerals when heated.
  2. 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.



In effect, this quiz will prove whether or not you have the skills to know the difference between “affect” and “effect.”
Question 1 of 7
The rainy weather could not ________ my elated spirits on my graduation day.

Origin of exfoliate

First recorded in 1605–15; from Late Latin exfoliātus, past participle of exfoliāre “to strip off leaves”; see origin at ex-1, foliate
ex·fo·li·a·tive [eks-foh-lee-ey-tiv, -uh-tiv], /ɛksˈfoʊ liˌeɪ tɪv, -ə tɪv/, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

British Dictionary definitions for exfoliate

/ (ɛksˈfəʊlɪˌeɪt) /


(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
exfoliation, nounexfoliative, adjective
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
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