Definition of erode in US English:



[with object]
  • 1(of wind, water, or other natural agents) gradually wear away (soil, rock, or land)

    ‘the cliffs have been eroded by the sea’
    • ‘Steep, rough and eroded by the wind, it imposes a hard vertical dance on a climber.’
    • ‘They readily understood how water erodes rock, and this made Lyell's report all the more believable.’
    • ‘Experts said they believed the road's foundations had been eroded by water but that nothing would have happened if traffic conditions along that section of road had been normal.’
    • ‘The walls here are cut by centuries of flood and fabulously eroded by wind and storm.’
    • ‘The limestone takes millions of years to form and thousands more being eroded by water to give it the unusual worn appearance.’
    • ‘The water slowly eroded the pile of blue, liquid into the silver drain.’
    • ‘Over time, the wind has eroded the landscape and converted the slate rocks into small fragments.’
    • ‘Since then, the solar wind has gradually eroded the Martian atmosphere so that today it is less than 1% as thick as that of the Earth.’
    • ‘This water eroded the natural limestone of the island into a series of natural caves that became gradually drowned as the ice-sheets melted and the sea level rose.’
    • ‘During its passage over land, water erodes vast amounts of continental rock.’
    • ‘Layered deposits have been partly eroded by the wind in some places, exposing an etched surface.’
    • ‘Recent rains likely eroded the topsoil away to a level below the crown.’
    • ‘Avoid planting on ridges where rows can be exposed to dry soil conditions and wind which may erode the soil, exposing the seed and making the hill too small to cover new tubers.’
    • ‘Also high pressure water can erode mortar joints.’
    • ‘The object was just that: a stone carving, eroded by water, but with a discernible figure of a woman holding something in her arms.’
    • ‘A canyon, too, is the consequence of ‘natural’ processes such as the way fluids erode rock.’
    • ‘Wind, sand and time have eroded the rock in the strangest of ways.’
    • ‘However, the topography of the hills in the area indicates that before Quaternary erosion a blanket of easily eroded rocks covered most of the peninsula.’
    • ‘This is the process by which rainwater erodes limestone cliffs and creates limestone caves and sinkholes.’
    • ‘First, wind and water erode it, especially during tropical storms and hurricanes.’
    abrade, scour, scratch, scrape, rasp, rub away, rub down, grind away, fret, waste away, wash away, crumble, crumble away, wear down
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    1. 1.1no object (of soil, rock, or land) be gradually worn away by natural agents.
      • ‘Mr Porter added that it was possible to see through the wall in places because so much stonework had eroded away.’
      • ‘The west wall is preserved only in the southwest corner, while a large part of the floor along the western side has eroded away.’
      • ‘High on the side of the valley is a band of hard stone, below which softer rock has eroded out leaving overhangs and rock shelters along the base of the cliff.’
      • ‘Trees and forests had been cut down to provide fuel and even the most fertile soils were eroding at an alarming rate.’
      • ‘Soil eroded from newly developed housing sites and washed into the estuary to accumulate there without benefit of filtering by impacted wetlands.’
      • ‘Clear contrasts that once separated the two lands are eroding, blurring.’
      • ‘It is a plain three-part button that was produced from a low-grade brass or copper base with the addition of silver plating, much of which has eroded away.’
      • ‘Minerals such as calcium and magnesium eroded away and poured into the sea, where they ‘fixed’ carbon dioxide and stopped it escaping into the air.’
      • ‘No, these wetlands were not developed, they eroded away.’
      • ‘The trees have all been cut down on the hills here, and the soil has eroded, leaving chalk exposed.’
      • ‘Now I can make out the huge blocks of stone naturally eroded into these surprisingly regular shapes.’
      • ‘But 1,000 feet of sandy beach have since eroded away, including all 210 feet that spanned the length of Sunset Cove.’
      • ‘Farmers say that in some places it's so thick, grass won't grow underneath it and the soil erodes.’
      • ‘Both bays are part of a massive volcano crater that has eroded away.’
      • ‘Haitians have chopped down so many trees that the soil is eroding, making it harder to farm.’
      • ‘Christianity's anyway tenuous situation in the holy land eroded.’
      • ‘As the land erodes and changes so do the cultural aspects of the island.’
      • ‘The terrain has eroded and only a few gnarled trees linger.’
      • ‘Eventually the surrounding layers of older rock eroded away, leaving this mass exposed as a monadnock.’
      • ‘Without the work these planters do, soils would erode, hillsides would slide into streams, and entire habitats would be devastated.’
    2. 1.2 Gradually destroy or be gradually destroyed.
      with object ‘this humiliation has eroded what confidence Jean has’
      no object ‘profit margins are eroding’
      • ‘We shall not forget them, nor this magnificent production of a play that reminds us in our selfish age how collective responsibility and camaraderie have eroded away.’
      • ‘Although that culture eroded away over the generations, it did so at different rates in different places and among different people.’
      • ‘Concerns about falling victim to phishing scams are eroding US consumer confidence in online banking and e-commerce.’
      • ‘That could erode overall confidence in the economy and undermine the spending and investment needed to get it moving.’
      • ‘One's standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed.’
      • ‘Perhaps his story is a reminder that life is fickle, and what we have today, can be slowly, or suddenly, eroded away, depending upon our choices, and the events of life.’
      • ‘Confidence is steadily being eroded that the police know what they are doing and that they are ready and willing to level with the public.’
      • ‘It also eroded away in the South, with the spread of education among whites and blacks.’
      • ‘But the subculture has many serious negative effects, eroding morale and confidence in the church.’
      • ‘I used to have immense pride and respect for England but since 1946 that has almost eroded away.’
      • ‘I lay still, listening with a numb feeling as my small island of stability eroded away from beneath me.’
      • ‘I blinked at him as another fundamental bit of my worldview eroded away.’
      • ‘Upon arrival everything was going right, all my worries slowly eroded away.’
      • ‘Every wall I had constructed to keep myself from hurting deeply, from being vulnerable, eroded away into nothingness, leaving me alone and frail.’
      • ‘The scourge is not only devastating but it destroys systems and erodes all integrity in the affected society.’
      • ‘It also means considerable extra expense in deliveries plus extra returns and the like. Finally, it erodes confidence in each news agency and this hurts our future.’
      • ‘Confidence is eroded and the health of our nation suffers.’
      • ‘All of this leaves gnawing questions, questions that erode consumer confidence.’
      • ‘Purchasing activities fell into private hands and land sales continued to erode Iroquois territories.’
      • ‘And to make things worse, coffee prices have been on a nose dive since the split, eroding farmers' confidence in coffee.’
      wear away, wear down, abrade, scrape away, grind down, crumble, dissolve, weather
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3Medicine (of a disease) gradually destroy (bodily tissue).
      • ‘The lining epithelium was often eroded, and the underlying stroma showed dense infiltration by inflammatory cells.’
      • ‘In severe cases, this can actually erode esophageal tissue (erosive esophagitis).’
      • ‘Known as ‘Rodent Ulcers’ because they gnaw away at healthy tissues, they can invade and erode cartilage and even bone.’
      • ‘George's face is badly disfigured and he has no fingers or toes; his voice is high-pitched because a part of his throat has been eroded by the disease.’
      • ‘This measurement method is especially important when assessing PrUs because these wounds are more likely to erode subcutaneous tissue than skin.’


Early 17th century: from French éroder or Latin erodere, from e- (variant of ex-) ‘out, away’ + rodere ‘gnaw’.