Definition of delete in English:



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

    ‘the passage was deleted’
    • ‘But once the dogs of war started howling he deleted the fine print.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘‘His name should have been deleted from the list,’ the chairman said yesterday.’
    • ‘He's the computer genius behind control alt delete.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Since year was not significant in either model, it was deleted from subsequent analysis.’
    • ‘I'm your dream man/woman (delete as applicable).’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘For the last time, I'm a (expletive deleted) veteran.’
    • ‘Government operates best when there are no secrets… I would urge that Section 15 be deleted in its entirety.’
    • ‘The passage I have highlighted is that which was deleted by amendment with effect from 31st January 2001.’
    • ‘The paragraph referring to the incident has now been deleted in its entirety.’
    • ‘There's also deleted scenes, trailers, costume design artwork, the lot.’
    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.
      • ‘In many cases, criminals think that they can permanently delete information from their computers by hitting Delete on the keyboard.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘You record all your songs to flash memory adding or deleting selections as often as you like.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Who said you had to spend your life deleting unwanted e-mail?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In a normal linked list, you remove a node to delete the data it's holding.’
      • ‘Memory module prices were quite high and you needed a computer to add or delete music.’
      • ‘The system must be capable of adding or deleting storage or computing resources, as needed, using front-end software tools.’
      • ‘For example, a Web site can be removed simply by a system administrator deleting a Web address from a list.’
      • ‘Users are advised to update their antivirus software and delete any suspicious emails without opening them.’
      • ‘If the audit process reveals unlicensed software, we will only recommend that a company either pays for the appropriate licenses or deletes the software.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The game is downloaded into a phone's memory and deleted when a player has completed the game.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I was deleting excessive writing on computer, and then I by accidentally deleted this chapter off the site, so I had to rewrite it.’
    2. 1.2Genetics (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’
      • ‘A total of 542 genes that are potentially deleted in the Kas genome were also identified.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
    3. 1.3Remove (a product, especially a recording) from the catalog of those available for purchase.
      ‘their EMI release has already been deleted’
      • ‘The group says most of the sections it disagreed with were either deleted or scaled back.’
      • ‘Our hotel and restaurant industry should be kind enough to delete bottled water from its menu of profit making food and beverage items.’
      • ‘If none of these options is considered feasible, the company must decide how best to delete the product.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The IHI list of medications is provided as a beginning framework, and health care organizations can add or delete medications from the list.’
      • ‘The single was only previously available on Vinyl on Japanese import and had long been deleted, plus the recording company went bust.’
      • ‘Then they deleted their entire back catalogue.’


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

    • ‘Yes - even the placement of the delete function is, when viewed in context, diabolical.’
    • ‘Remembering is delegated to the hard drive; if something unpleasant happens, we press delete.’
    • ‘You can't just hit delete, you have to rip the pages or white out the text.’
    • ‘However, this morning the number key containing the dollar sign stopped working, followed by the delete key and the return key.’
    • ‘In that old journalistic tradition, I make my excuses and leave - or do the technological equivalent and press 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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Most times we reach straight for the delete key; that's what it's there for.’
    • ‘Pressing the delete button gives you control over your life.’
    • ‘Next, I hit the delete button to remove the email.’
    • ‘Great, but won't people have to have phones which can accept delete commands?’
    • ‘Because a CD-ROM is static, there will never be a delete or update.’
    • ‘In fact if the e-mail says that - you're safe to just hit delete.’
    • ‘I accidentally hit the tiny delete key instead of backspace.’
    • ‘I had to wonder - in the millisecond before I hit the delete button - who had sent them and from where and why.’
    • ‘Hit the delete key and make up something innocuous.’
    • ‘However I am about to change jobs and pressing the delete button a thousand times on my PC at work has been most cathartic.’
    • ‘So if you do receive the email, hit the delete button rather than passing it on to friends.’


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