[ uh-blit-uh-reyt ]
/ əˈblɪt əˌreɪt /

verb (used with object), ob·lit·er·at·ed, ob·lit·er·at·ing.

to remove or destroy all traces of; do away with; destroy completely.
to blot out or render undecipherable (writing, marks, etc.); efface.

Nearby words

  1. oblique vein of left atrium,
  2. oblique-slip fault,
  3. obliquely,
  4. obliquity,
  5. obliquity of the ecliptic,
  6. obliterating endarteritis,
  7. obliteration,
  8. obliterative,
  9. obliterative bronchitis,
  10. oblivescence

Origin of obliterate

1590–1600; < Latin oblitterātus (past participle of oblitterāre, efface, cause to be forgotten), equivalent to ob- ob- + litter(a) letter1 + -ātus -ate1

SYNONYMS FOR obliterate
2. expunge.

Related formsob·lit·er·a·ble [uh-blit-er-uh-buhl] /əˈblɪt ər ə bəl/, adjectiveo·blit·er·a·tor, nounhalf-ob·lit·er·at·ed, adjectiveun·ob·lit·er·at·ed, adjective

Synonym study

2. See cancel.

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for obliterator


/ (əˈblɪtəˌreɪt) /


(tr) to destroy every trace of; wipe out completely
Derived Formsobliteration, nounobliterative, adjectiveobliterator, noun

Word Origin for obliterate

C16: from Latin oblitterāre to erase, from ob- out + littera letter

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 obliterator



c.1600, from Latin obliteratus, past participle of obliterare "cause to disappear, blot out, erase, efface," figuratively "cause to be forgotten," from ob "against" (see ob-) + littera (also litera) "letter, script" (see letter (n.)); abstracted from phrase literas scribere "write across letters, strike out letters." Related: Obliterated; obliterating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for obliterator


[ ə-blĭtə-rāt′, ō-blĭt- ]


To remove an organ or another body part completely, as by surgery, disease, or radiation.
To blot out, especially through filling of a natural space by fibrosis or inflammation.
Related formso•blit′er•ation n.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.