Definition of erase in US English:



[with object]
  • 1Rub out or remove (writing or marks)

    ‘graffiti had been erased from the wall’
    • ‘A sudden smile can smooth it free of tension as easily as the tide can erase marks on sand.’
    • ‘Even the small marks left by the scrapping of chair legs had been erased.’
    • ‘The accused used to erase the marks and words from the stamps and sold them to the shopkeepers or back to the post offices.’
    • ‘Like previously, the copy in the duplicated block has been erased, and no trace of a pseudogene or relic can be detected in S. cerevisiae.’
    • ‘Eyes and noses smear like smudged pencil marks erased from once-recognizable faces.’
    • ‘We wish we could erase the mark, see it gone forever.’
    • ‘The tower houses a laser projection device that gradually describes a horizontal line of red light on the gallery walls and then erases itself.’
    • ‘She had an urge to erase the writing, make it disappear, as if doing that would make it so that it never happened… but of course - the diary was etched in pen.’
    • ‘He cleanly erased every single mark on my worksheet.’
    • ‘It was important that all stray marks be completely erased so they would not show when the design was scanned.’
    • ‘When the calculation was over, the operator would smooth over the sand and erase the marks.’
    • ‘Every day she covered that one page with poetry, stories, her story, and then she memorized it, and then she erased the pencil marks with breadcrumbs.’
    • ‘He got up off the bed and hastily dragged the chair back to its proper place, erased the drag marks, picked the stool up to carry it to its proper spot, same back and closed the doors.’
    • ‘The kids glanced up at me, and some started erasing their marks.’
    • ‘But the food safety authority acknowledges this mark may be erased if the meat has been cut up.’
    • ‘Remarkably, seven days later her mark was erased.’
    • ‘The labels were cut out of his clothing and any identifying marks on his shoes had been erased.’
    • ‘The two sticks could then be compared to see if they tallied to prevent me adding a mark or you erasing a mark on the sticks.’
    • ‘Kishi put down the pencil with which she had been marking up the corner of her assignment book and suddenly took to erasing the marks with much vigor.’
    • ‘Despite the subsequent wiping, washing and some more wiping, the footprints simply refused to be erased.’
    delete, rub out, wipe off, wipe out
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    1. 1.1 Remove all traces of (a thought, feeling, or memory)
      ‘the magic of the landscape erased all else from her mind’
      • ‘All thoughts of being quiet and timid were erased as I spotted the crimson stains on the pot of the plant where someone had obviously pushed it down the stairs.’
      • ‘If women participated in this myth-making in order to understand themselves and their place in the world, the traces have been erased or repressed.’
      • ‘In some parts of Latin America, there's been an attempt to erase many of the traces of liberation theology in any of its forms.’
      • ‘Well, you know, I'm a little confused by your characterization of this as though because a person has served a jail sentence that that somehow erases the fact that they committed a crime.’
      • ‘We have all seen people erase their own worries and fears by helping others.’
      • ‘Some moments, he saw a trace of sadness that was quickly erased.’
      • ‘Architectural awareness erases a person's complacency about buildings.’
      • ‘The role of the Bund area is changing, but the name of the wall will never be erased from locals' minds.’
      • ‘That leaves a mark on you that can't be erased - and it leaves you with questions that you have to confront: Who am I to have witnessed such acts?’
      • ‘Yet retracting a report isn't the same as erasing it from people's memories.’
      • ‘But one wonders if a brush of white wash on these walls would help erase some of the pain.’
      • ‘They are a black mark, which will really only be finally erased when the game addresses the root cause of players behaving badly.’
      • ‘The United States owes its entire non-Native history to people wanting to erase their pasts and make fresh starts.’
      • ‘That element of my nightmare had been erased, diminished, dissolved.’
      • ‘An environment of finding fault will break down trust in one another as well as erase the personal self-confidence every member needs to succeed.’
      • ‘The political and cultural sovereignty of northern aboriginal people were effectively erased by such statements.’
      • ‘Experts say some of that helplessness may be erased by commune council elections, held for the first time in 2002, which could give villagers more influence over local planning.’
      destroy, wipe out, obliterate, eradicate, abolish, stamp out, quash, do away with, get rid of, remove, dissolve
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 Remove recorded material from (a magnetic tape or medium); delete (data) from a computer's memory.
      • ‘A file in the Recycle Bin is not erased from your computer until you select ‘Empty the Recycle Bin’ from the File menu.’
      • ‘A roll of film, for example, can only be used once, but a computer chip can be erased and reused continually.’
      • ‘Soon the software revved up and began to halt the invasion, slowly at first but as the system recovers one by one it gets faster and faster until the traces of hacking has been erased.’
      • ‘As we all know, most of the tapes of Johnny's early shows were destroyed or erased years ago.’
      • ‘It will reformat your memory circuits, completely erasing any and all memories that you have.’
      • ‘The malicious software might then erase itself and never be detected, according to the report.’
      • ‘I pushed the erase button; did people think teachers were evil or something?’
      • ‘If you do decide to resell, you'll need to be able to track the equipment and obtain proof that hard drives have been completely erased.’
      • ‘I erase everything using a program that promises to destroy the data, not just remove it from the directory.’
      • ‘Horrified, he erased the hard disk and started from scratch with new anti-virus software.’
      • ‘Digital rights software will enable users to view the program a certain number of times, after which it will be automatically erased from the storage device.’
      • ‘It prevents a hacker from deleting any files, but restricts a user from suing the hacker should anything be accidentally erased.’
      • ‘Even then, the waiting while all the files on the computers were being erased seemed endless.’
      • ‘The degaussing process is designed to erase the tape magnetically back to a virgin state.’
      • ‘Just like erasing a magnetic hard disk does not delete all the information stored on the disk, common erasure methods for tapes do not erase all of the data on the tape.’
      • ‘She had been a genius and erased all records and traces of Nikolas and replaced them with false information.’
      • ‘In many situations, just erasing a tape is not enough to be sure the ‘erased’ data is actually gone.’
      • ‘The ‘old’ boxes can be erased and new data recorded onto them for distribution when the next update cycle occurs.’
      • ‘This could take the form of a predefined message, which, when sent to a phone either erases its program memory, and/or locks it up completely.’
      • ‘Whether this person did or did not erase his computer's memory, he is responsible for putting the information into it.’


Late 16th century (originally as a heraldic term meaning ‘represent the head or limb of an animal with a jagged edge’): from Latin eras- ‘scraped away’, from the verb eradere, from e- (variant of ex-) ‘out’ + radere ‘scrape’.