Definition of delete in English:



  • 1 Remove or obliterate (written or printed matter), especially by drawing a line through it.

    ‘the passage was deleted’
    • ‘There's also deleted scenes, trailers, costume design artwork, the lot.’
    • ‘But once the dogs of war started howling he deleted the fine print.’
    • ‘He's the computer genius behind control alt delete.’
    • ‘I'm your dream man/woman (delete as applicable).’
    • ‘Cows with valid genotypes for fewer than three markers were deleted from the analysis.’
    • ‘The pharmacy deleted an important ingredient in your blood pressure management when it made this switch.’
    • ‘The paragraph referring to the incident has now been deleted in its entirety.’
    • ‘Since year was not significant in either model, it was deleted from subsequent analysis.’
    • ‘Government operates best when there are no secrets… I would urge that Section 15 be deleted in its entirety.’
    • ‘With items such as the sauces, he is more than willing to include or delete ingredients, as he says that everything is made fresh to order.’
    • ‘For the last time, I'm a (expletive deleted) veteran.’
    • ‘‘His name should have been deleted from the list,’ the chairman said yesterday.’
    • ‘The passage I have highlighted is that which was deleted by amendment with effect from 31st January 2001.’
    • ‘I vote that the second half of the film be deleted, re-written, and re-filmed to completely focus on the time spent on The Farm.’
    remove, cut out, take out, edit out, expunge, excise, eradicate, cancel, unpublish
    cross out, strike out, put a line through, blue-pencil, ink out, score out, scratch out, obliterate, white out
    rub out, erase, efface, wipe out, blot out
    tippex out
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Remove (data) from a computer's memory.
      ‘any program in memory will be deleted before the new one is loaded’
      • ‘A memory leak occurs when memory is allocated and not freed after use, or when the pointer to a memory allocation is deleted, rendering the memory no longer usable.’
      • ‘If the audit process reveals unlicensed software, we will only recommend that a company either pays for the appropriate licenses or deletes the software.’
      • ‘The game is downloaded into a phone's memory and deleted when a player has completed the game.’
      • ‘Remove software by deleting them from the Program Files folder.’
      • ‘Earlier this week, we wrote about a lawsuit between two spyware companies, after one got upset that the other was deleting its software when both were installed on the same computer.’
      • ‘Memory module prices were quite high and you needed a computer to add or delete music.’
      • ‘I was deleting excessive writing on computer, and then I by accidentally deleted this chapter off the site, so I had to rewrite it.’
      • ‘Computers do not destroy data when a user deletes it, therefore leaving evidence for investigators to locate.’
      • ‘They can be easily removed by deleting them in your browser settings.’
      • ‘Who said you had to spend your life deleting unwanted e-mail?’
      • ‘Users are advised to update their antivirus software and delete any suspicious emails without opening them.’
      • ‘You record all your songs to flash memory adding or deleting selections as often as you like.’
      • ‘In many cases, criminals think that they can permanently delete information from their computers by hitting Delete on the keyboard.’
      • ‘For example, a Web site can be removed simply by a system administrator deleting a Web address from a list.’
      • ‘Why not ask me why I keep deleting your emails instead of continuing to send them?’
      • ‘I immediately deleted the jpeg and am worried that my PC is now infected.’
      • ‘The system must be capable of adding or deleting storage or computing resources, as needed, using front-end software tools.’
      • ‘In a normal linked list, you remove a node to delete the data it's holding.’
      • ‘It is also advising on its website that anyone who receives this email should delete it.’
      • ‘Ultimately, the inquiry reported that at least 500 files that might have proved relevant to its investigation had been deleted from government computers.’
    2. 1.2Remove (a product, especially a recording) from the catalogue of those available for purchase.
      ‘their EMI release has already been deleted’
      • ‘The IHI list of medications is provided as a beginning framework, and health care organizations can add or delete medications from the list.’
      • ‘Our hotel and restaurant industry should be kind enough to delete bottled water from its menu of profit making food and beverage items.’
      • ‘The single was only previously available on Vinyl on Japanese import and had long been deleted, plus the recording company went bust.’
      • ‘Serious about their decision to leave the music business, the band deleted their back catalogue, which meant that after the existing records were sold no more would be pressed.’
      • ‘If none of these options is considered feasible, the company must decide how best to delete the product.’
      • ‘The group says most of the sections it disagreed with were either deleted or scaled back.’
      • ‘Then they deleted their entire back catalogue.’
    3. 1.3Genetics (of a section of genetic code, or its product) be lost or excised from a nucleic acid or protein sequence.
      ‘if one important gene is deleted from an animal's DNA, other genes can stand in’
      • ‘Lack of extrusion of the palindrome may explain why it was not deleted from the chromosomal locus during growth of the recombinants.’
      • ‘As reported previously, at each insertion site some chromosomal DNA was deleted, most likely in conjunction with the integration event.’
      • ‘A total of 542 genes that are potentially deleted in the Kas genome were also identified.’
      • ‘This may be related to the large size of the chromosomal DNA to be deleted, to polymorphism at this locus, or to specific effects of the donor DNA.’
      • ‘In this process new genes are created by repeated gene duplications, and some genes may later become pseudogenes or even be deleted from the genome.’


  • A command or key on a computer which erases text.

    ‘you can use delete to remove a number of lines from your program’
    • ‘So if you do receive the email, hit the delete button rather than passing it on to friends.’
    • ‘Great, but won't people have to have phones which can accept delete commands?’
    • ‘However I belatedly spotted a familiar name when doing a mass delete and managed to pull this one out of the group earmarked for deletion.’
    • ‘Remembering is delegated to the hard drive; if something unpleasant happens, we press delete.’
    • ‘Next, I hit the delete button to remove the email.’
    • ‘Pressing the delete button gives you control over your life.’
    • ‘Most times we reach straight for the delete key; that's what it's there for.’
    • ‘In that old journalistic tradition, I make my excuses and leave - or do the technological equivalent and press the delete button.’
    • ‘However, this morning the number key containing the dollar sign stopped working, followed by the delete key and the return key.’
    • ‘I accidentally hit the tiny delete key instead of backspace.’
    • ‘However I am about to change jobs and pressing the delete button a thousand times on my PC at work has been most cathartic.’
    • ‘You can't just hit delete, you have to rip the pages or white out the text.’
    • ‘Hit the delete key and make up something innocuous.’
    • ‘He therewith began counting down from five, and on each digit, descended his index finger closer to the delete button.’
    • ‘She types a word, decides against it, and presses down the delete button.’
    • ‘Plus, I reckon it also takes more time to carry real junk mail to the rubbish and deposit it than it does to hit the delete key.’
    • ‘Because a CD-ROM is static, there will never be a delete or update.’
    • ‘Yes - even the placement of the delete function is, when viewed in context, diabolical.’
    • ‘In fact if the e-mail says that - you're safe to just hit delete.’
    • ‘I had to wonder - in the millisecond before I hit the delete button - who had sent them and from where and why.’


Late Middle English (in the sense ‘destroy’): from Latin delet- blotted out, effaced, from the verb delere.