Definition of wipe in English:



  • 1Clean or dry (something) by rubbing its surface with a cloth, a piece of paper, or one's hand.

    ‘Paul wiped his face with a handkerchief’
    ‘he wiped down the kitchen wall’
    • ‘After inspecting the rifle, the inside of the upper receiver, bolt, and bolt carrier were wiped down with a rag and lubricated.’
    • ‘Wring the cloth almost dry and wipe the furniture section by section, drying with a clean dry cloth as you go so that no section stays wet.’
    • ‘After that he took out a white cloth he wiped his face with it.’
    • ‘Flushing the toilet and reaching up for a paper towel, she wiped her mouth and closed her eyes, rubbing her temples.’
    • ‘She put the cloth down and wiped her hands on her crisp white apron.’
    • ‘Karl took the iron skillet back off the coals, used a pawful of paper towels to wipe it clean, and set it off to the side to cool.’
    • ‘Taking a paper towel, I wiped the water from my face and stared again into the depths of the mirror once more.’
    • ‘I picked the cloth up and wiped my face as clean as I could, I gave my hands a quick wipe and put the cloth back on the table.’
    • ‘When cooked remove basins and strip lining papers away and wipe the basins clean.’
    • ‘She wiped every part with paper tissues and then placed it in the sunlight.’
    • ‘Using a clean, wet cloth, wipe the lip of each jar, add a lid and ring and hand tighten.’
    • ‘She gave him a bowl of water with which to rinse out his mouth, then fetched a cloth and wiped his face for him.’
    • ‘Brown then grabbed the cloth and wiped his own forehead with it.’
    • ‘Apologies were made, clothes were wiped down and ‘have some of my drink’ offerings were made all over the place.’
    • ‘Remsi, who was dying a piece of cloth red, wiped his hands clean, though they remained stained, stood up, and held his hand out.’
    • ‘Lidiah replied holding up her dagger to the sun rays before bringing it back down to a piece of cloth to wipe it gently.’
    • ‘First, he would first grab a paper towel and start wiping them down with it.’
    • ‘I grabbed a cloth and began wiping every single table.’
    • ‘Take a paper towel and wipe the lemon scent around the sink.’
    • ‘Using a clean cloth, wipe the warm base with extra effort until no more pine tar shows on the cloth.’
    rub, clean, mop, sponge, swab
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    1. 1.1Remove (dirt or moisture) from something by rubbing its surface with a cloth, a piece of paper, or one's hand.
      ‘she wiped away a tear’
      • ‘Taking his right glove off he placed a finger on her cheek and wiped away the dirt that was there.’
      • ‘With the back of her hand she wiped away the moisture from her eyes, mentally kicking herself for getting so emotional over it.’
      • ‘Let stand overnight, then wipe loosened dirt with paper towels or newspapers.’
      • ‘She wiped mud, dirt and tears off her face and snatched the paper.’
      • ‘When you see the movie you'll notice we didn't even bother to wipe off the bird dirt from the wind shield.’
      • ‘She put her hand onto his face, wiping away the moisture that suddenly appeared there.’
      • ‘I swipe at my upper lip, wiping away the moisture there.’
      • ‘I wiped off the dirt and brushed the leaves from my hair.’
      • ‘The bowl is so well preserved, they were able to wipe off the dirt without risk of damage.’
      • ‘He climbed to his feet, wiping off the dirt that was on his face.’
      • ‘We didn't stop giggling and laughing all night and by the time we left, Debbie's jaw was aching her make-up had gone from wiping away the tears of laughter!’
      • ‘He produced a handkerchief from somewhere and gently wiped the dirt, tears, and blood from my face.’
      • ‘She removed her glasses and wiped away the tears around her eyes.’
      • ‘She stood to her feet and wiped as much dirt from her hands as possible.’
      • ‘He sniffed, wiping the dirt and tears off his face, though also smearing.’
      • ‘She felt something damp on her head, wiping away the dirt and the blood.’
      • ‘Her gran and dad stood in the background, wiping away tears.’
      • ‘Balen picks up the stone and wipes the sand and dirt from it.’
      • ‘He wiped the caked red dirt from his eyes, and was able to clarify that he wasn't just seeing what he wanted to see.’
      • ‘I figured that at least the next time I had to clean the tack it would not take so long because there would not be nearly as much dirt and grime to wipe off.’
      clean up, clear up, mop up, sponge up
      rub off, clean off, sponge off, polish off
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    2. 1.2Clean (something) by rubbing it against a surface.
      ‘the man wiped his hands on his hips’
      • ‘I brushed it aside and wiped my hands on my jeans before unloading my stuff from my bag.’
      • ‘If you vacuum your pleated shades be sure to wipe the bristles of the brush frequently.’
      • ‘Giles removed his glasses and wiped them with his handkerchief.’
      • ‘Jim tossed the pits into the brush and wiped his hands on his pants.’
      • ‘He brushed the dust from his blue waistcoat and wiped his aviator sunglasses on the hem of his shirt.’
      • ‘Two hours and fifteen minutes into the game, upon the expiration of his seventh turn, Ted removed his glasses to wipe them slowly with the worn cotton of his flannel shirt.’
      • ‘Daria grimaced and removed it, wiping it on her jeans.’
      • ‘After each pass of the scraper, wipe the surface clean - it'll achieve a smoother application.’
    3. 1.3Spread (a liquid) over a surface by rubbing.
      ‘gently wipe the lotion over the eyelids’
      • ‘External lipid barriers spread by wiping provide a logical means of waterproofing when the skin doesn't do the job on its own.’
      • ‘If you are unsure which type paint you have, wash wall, let dry and wipe with rubbing alcohol on a paper towel.’
      • ‘The highest counts of bacteria were found in the wet areas around sinks and on the cloths routinely used for wiping and drying kitchen surfaces and appliances.’
      • ‘Spray a bit on a shop cloth, then use that to wipe down any metal surfaces in need of ‘rust preventing.’’
      • ‘Get the habit of spraying all surfaces with bleach water (cap to quart), and wipe with bleach water rag.’
      • ‘A weekly wiping with a little liquid ammonia on a soft cloth will help keep unlacquered brass shiny.’
      • ‘If it does not try Denatured Alcohol - wiped over surface with cloth, it works on some adhesives that naptha misses.’
      • ‘Used instruments should be wiped throughout the surgical procedure with sponges moistened with sterile water.’
      • ‘After cleaning the plate, colored ink is rubbed into the grooves and then carefully wiped off the flat surface of the plate.’
      pat, press, touch, blot, mop, swab, smudge
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  • 2Remove or eliminate (something) completely.

    ‘things have happened to wipe the smile off Kate's face’
    • ‘Hopefully this change will not wipe away traces of the past, however horrific, before you have a chance to go there.’
    • ‘Freeserve's share price was in free-fall this morning wiping 20 per cent off the value of Britain's biggest ISP.’
    • ‘Anything left standing will be wiped off the map by the resulting tsunami.’
    • ‘So the mingling dinosaurs spread diseases and wiped each other out.’
    • ‘The history of the world will wipe away my traces with the same gentle smile that Mummy had on her face as she washed away my paintings.’
    • ‘Suddenly the Gats treaty is not about trade at all, but a sly means to wipe away restrictions on business and industry, foreign and local.’
    • ‘I still have lots and was pleased to discover that a five year rest was sufficient to wipe away burnout.’
    • ‘The budget deficit the Legislature ignored was wiped away with a stroke of my pen.’
    • ‘He would see himself mouth angry words back at the idling grinning shopkeepers, that would wipe away for ever the pasty smile off their faces.’
    • ‘On a personal note, Kleenex is indebted to him for all the tissues that girls have used to wipe away tears and heartbreak.’
    • ‘‘This is not an argument for wiping badgers off the face of the earth,’ he writes.’
    obliterate, expunge, erase, blot out, remove, remove all traces of, blank out
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    1. 2.1Erase (data) from a magnetic medium.
      • ‘With this method you wipe not only your files, but your registry and swap file too.’
      • ‘The scientists' obsessive activity has wiped the tape - or at least wiped away the thing last recorded onto it.’
      • ‘However, wiping a computer's primary hard disk means it will no longer start as normal.’
      • ‘Forbes reports that some encrypted data has subsequently been wiped from the machine.’
      • ‘Then you put the CD into the computer you want to wipe and reboot.’
      • ‘The very Trojan planted to launch the attack or download the incriminating files may be designed to self destruct and wipe itself from the hard drive.’
      • ‘Remember those programs I described that wipe clean your computer to keep others from knowing where and when you surfed?’
      • ‘It can take care of all the logistics headaches associated with disposing old PCs, including collection and data wiping to military standards.’
      • ‘The code can easily be adapted to do anything from collecting security passwords to wiping a computer's hard drive within seven seconds of activation.’
      • ‘It'll wipe off all the information that you have on your computer.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, all such information had been wiped from the computer.’
      • ‘Computers containing sensitive information are supposed to be wiped free of data before being sold on.’
      • ‘After hearing nothing for a week she contacted the authority - who said the tapes had been wiped because it had not been notified within three days.’
      • ‘The virus wiped the source code from his laptop.’
      • ‘A good rule of thumb is, never encrypt when you can wipe.’
      • ‘Thousands of e-mail users have wiped a legitimate Windows file from their computers in the past week following an elaborate hoax virus alert.’
      • ‘I back up, wipe, format and restore my own system at least three times a week using Mondo's latest release.’
      • ‘I'll be providing a few homebrew tools for secure data wiping below, but I really can't recommend them on any other filesystem.’
      • ‘Deleted files will be wiped from the disk as thoroughly as they can to reduce the possibility of recovery.’
      • ‘All he had done was to change the ownership of computers without wiping the hard disks.’


  • 1An act of wiping.

    • ‘She gave the coffee table a final wipe and gathered her things.’
    • ‘Giving it a quick wipe with a towel, he dabs some ‘chunnam’ (slaked lime) on the leaf.’
    • ‘My palms are soaked with sweat, I give them a quick wipe on my skirt before I place my hand in his.’
    • ‘A full wipe on your machine solves the problem and gets you a cheap mammoth camera card.’
    • ‘I do give the floor a wipe with a sponge from time to time, but mainly I've just taken to wearing shoes in the kitchen.’
    • ‘Rinse off then give a final wipe over with a weak solution of vinegar and water to produce a sparkling surface free of streaks.’
    • ‘I also use a quick wipe of the Floral Skin Toner when my skin feels grubby.’
    • ‘A quick wipe over with some baby wipes and the scratches didn't look so bad anymore, and Yuri fixed the plastic back on so it's not as bad as it could've been.’
    rub, clean, mop, sponge, swab, polish
    View synonyms
  • 2A disposable cloth treated with a cleansing agent, for wiping things clean.

    • ‘I keep a box of final wipes in my desk at work and grab one or two when ever I go to the bathroom.’
    • ‘I haven't had a single attack since I began using baby wipes instead of toilet paper.’
    • ‘Experts say regular use of anti-bacterial wipes and specialist IT contractors can help restrict keyboard infection rates.’
    • ‘Palmer has even called in sponsorship from an insect - repellent manufacturer, providing wipes to keep Glasgow's bloodsuckers at bay.’
    • ‘We soldiers can only get so many packages filled with snacks, baby wipes, magazines, and other nonessential items.’
    • ‘The really fun part is the panic as the date gets closer and you start trying to second guess your packing decisions… do I take the extra baby wipes?’
    • ‘He added that popular cleaning products, such as wipes and anti-bacterial gels, were acceptable as second choices if soap and water were not available.’
    • ‘I go back into the bathroom to wash my face and see that the daughter, who insisted on helping me clean the tub and the floor, threw some of the used baby wipes in the toilet.’
    • ‘Neurotics, hand-washers, and obsessive counters - lend me your wet wipes!’
    • ‘Now, a box of 384 premade wipes costs around $10.’
    • ‘She said staff used antiseptic wipes for some equipment.’
    • ‘The scary bit - his doctor has suggested that he takes his own cup and cutlery in as well as cleaning materials and also to keep a large box of antiseptic wipes by his bed and insist that anyone coming to examine him cleans their hands.’
    • ‘Although bleary-eyed, I manage to triumphantly wave a giant packet of wet wipes at them, explaining that I think they will find these very useful.’
    • ‘Sales of soap products have gone up from £76m in 1981 to £173m 20 years later while sales of baby wipes have nearly tripled in the last 15 years.’
    • ‘The manufacturers believe toilet-goers find a damp wipe used in conjunction with normal dry paper leaves them feeling fresher and cleaner.’
    • ‘Jackie Rose never planned to buy the toilet wipes.’
    • ‘Clorox, maker of bleach and other household products, has designed Armor All Car Wash Wipes in packages containing a few wipes to be sold at the chain for a buck.’
    • ‘We had to resort to using baby wipes to freshen up.’
    • ‘That being said, consider where these wipes are meant to be used, and realise that they are formulated with harsh detergents that may irritate the delicate skin of your face, especially the fragile skin around your eyes.’
    • ‘A Ziplock bag with a few baby wipes left in the car is great for wiping hands before drive-through meals, as well as being good emergency stain removers.’
  • 3A cinematographic effect in which an existing picture seems to be wiped out by a new one as the boundary between them moves across the screen.

    • ‘An optical wipe introduces the second section, also accompanied by drums but this time at a beating-heart tempo.’
    • ‘This includes the cross dissolve and a selection of the wipe and iris transitions.’
    • ‘But there's nothing like corny video star wipes and bad sound effects carefully preserved for decades to come on DVD to horrify future generations.’
    • ‘Split screen, weird wipes, floating frames and fades - they guy does everything possible to replicate the look of a comic page, shy of actually shooting one on an animation stand.’
    • ‘Uniquely, almost every edit in the film is a straight cut - there are almost no wipes, dissolves, pans, or other techniques used.’
    • ‘There is laptop trickery (bad wipes and awkward cuts) throughout the concert.’
    • ‘He sets up multi-frame shots, emulating the look of a comic book, with a plethora of flashy screen wipes and dissolves.’
    • ‘A variety of video effects, such as wipes and dissolves, can help generate a feeling of suspense.’
    • ‘Or there would be a lot of screen wipes of carriages going by at sort of strategic moments.’
    • ‘I produced all the in-box demos for the products and a graphical user interface to make it easy for users to produce fades, wipes and all the fancy stuff that had never been seen on a computer before.’
    • ‘Through a series of wipes, the screen splits into as many as eight images simultaneously fighting for the viewer's attention.’
    • ‘The use of wipes and dissolves speeds up the sequencing of events, showing us that, while the devil may be in the details, those specific elements are going to be assumed here.’
    • ‘He even uses wipes during a crucial dramatic sequence.’
    • ‘In the Tricked Out Version you get fancy fades and wipes that honestly end up being more annoying than cool.’
    • ‘Overall, everything moves at a good pace, and the various wipes and instant replays don't detract the least from the action.’
    • ‘Processor speed and power will significantly affect the time taken to render special effects, such as dissolves, wipes etc, in video editing packages.’
    • ‘Nothing boosts the production value of your video quite like adding transistions and wipes between every clip.’
    • ‘The film itself is a mix of bad video, better filmed bits, excellent animation, and a bunch of old school transitional wipes.’


  • wipe the floor with

    • informal Inflict a humiliating defeat on.

      ‘they wiped the floor with us in a 36-6 win’
      • ‘Built as a summer palace in the ninth century, it predates the Alhambra of Granada - and wipes the floor with it, in my opinion.’
      • ‘Judging by the way they are wiping the floor with good opposition these days, it's hard to argue that Leigh won't achieve their ambition.’
      • ‘Fired up with enthusiasm, Lisa and I made it out of bed by 11: 45 am yesterday morning and headed to the outskirts of Ipswich, where we wiped the floor with the rest of my family at ten pin bowling.’
      • ‘I was looking forward to wiping the floor with him, plus relieving him of the five pounds that we had bet on the contest.’
      • ‘She totally wiped the floor with him, and it was a delight to hear all the other passengers laughing and cheering.’
      • ‘But I'm encouraged by the fact nobody's wiped the floor with us, not even Chelsea.’
      • ‘Not bad in a nation which is currently so powerful on the cricketing front that their talent-studded A team would be confident of wiping the floor with most of the other full test sides.’
      • ‘Shot on a puny budget on the mean streets of Shepherds Bush, it wiped the floor with most British films when it was released in 2000.’
      • ‘And with 1500 entries and only 6 winners, I undoubtedly wiped the floor with 1493 of them, and finished 7th.’
      • ‘The 18-year-old came last in the swimming event and gym test but showed his class by wiping the floor with his rivals in an 800 metres cross country race.’
      • ‘They got the goal, they got the momentum and then in the second half of extra-time they just wiped the floor with us.’
      • ‘There are some top class players out there who haven't even qualified and would wipe the floor with me every day of the week.’
      • ‘But hey, he wiped the floor with that 19th placed horse, and let's face it, the race was probably fixed anyway.’
      • ‘Unfortunately my nephew noticed I was better than before and just raised his game a notch and still wiped the floor with me.’
      • ‘It wiped the floor with almost any other action scene I've ever watched.’
      • ‘Basketball players from one North Yorkshire school have been wiping the floor with the opposition after completing an unbeaten run of two years.’
      • ‘On other European occasions, we came back and wiped the floor with our opponents.’
      • ‘We wanted to wipe the floor with them, but they wouldn't let us.’
      • ‘And Mulligan had gotten humiliated enough times when Victor wiped the floor with him to know that that look in someone's eyes meant trouble.’
      • ‘Bermuda and the Cayman Islands are wiping the floor with the Bahamas and cleaning up in the financial services sector.’
      defeat, beat, best, get the better of, gain the advantage over, prevail over, triumph over, gain a victory over, trounce, rout, thrash, drub, vanquish, conquer, master, overcome, overwhelm, overpower, overthrow, crush, subdue, subjugate
      View synonyms
  • wipe the slate clean

    • Forgive or forget past faults or offenses; make a fresh start.

      • ‘We are going to wipe the slate clean and go back to the drawing board.’
      • ‘Well, we at the Olympics have decided to forget all that, wipe the slate clean and put them to an impartial test.’
      • ‘But until you can get credit again, you cannot prove you have wiped the slate clean.’
      • ‘Serialism was vital in the way it wiped the slate clean, invoking a new year zero where everything would be up for grabs.’
      • ‘We attempted to wipe the slate clean, and start afresh.’
      • ‘A glorious, annually renewed opportunity to use as you please: you can wipe the slate clean, right past wrongs, reinvent yourself entirely!’
      • ‘To be fair he had one good idea which became law - wiping the slate clean for people with very minor non-violent offences who had not re-offended for at least ten years.’
      • ‘To let things go, to wipe the slate clean, to forgive, to forget.’
      • ‘Off to the big city to seek her fortune; to escape her past, her burnt bridges; to wipe the slate clean.’
      • ‘We're the new owners with new ideas and we're making a fresh start and we're going to wipe the slate clean.’
      • ‘With each new year comes a fresh start, a chance to wipe the slate clean, to make way for a happier, healthier, better you.’
      • ‘However, due to a recovery plan now in force, they hope to have wiped the slate clean by March, 2005.’
      • ‘Can we please just wipe the slate clean and get a new government?’
      • ‘So, he'd moved him and his sister to Atlanta, in the hopes that he could start fresh, wipe the slate clean.’
      • ‘The reason new year is such a good thing is that it resets the counter, wipes the slate clean and gives you a chance to try again at the things you failed to do last year.’
      • ‘I wanted to start afresh, to wipe the slate clean and forget about the endless mother-daughter feud, and finally let go of Ellum.’
      • ‘It is this ability to wipe the slate clean, to forget history and all its barriers and prejudices, which is behind the attraction of new towns.’
      • ‘He wrote: ‘Let bygones be bygones, wipe the slate clean and work toward peace.’’
      • ‘Reminiscent of classic thrillers, the movie's real core is the dangerous allure of wiping the slate clean and starting your life all over again.’
      • ‘But to abandon subjects does not just wipe the slate clean with the possibility of alternative lifestyles, pursuits and pleasures lining up to divert us.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • wipe something off

    • Subtract an amount from a value or debt.

      ‘the crash wiped 24 percent off stock prices’
      • ‘Billions of pounds were wiped off the value of Britain's biggest banks while their European equivalents fell on average by 8%.’
      • ‘As previously reported, Marconi investors and shareholders today have had their first opportunity to quiz the board on its handling of the profits warning which wiped billions off the value of shares.’
      • ‘Stock markets dropped to their lowest levels for five years, wiping billions off Britain's pensions.’
      • ‘Since our launch in November 1999, billions of pounds have been wiped off the value of our competitors, and many established names in telecoms have collapsed.’
      • ‘Troubled Manchester holiday firm MyTravel plunged deep into crisis today as millions of pounds were wiped off its value.’
      • ‘Literally trillions of dollars have been wiped off the value of savings and retirement plans across America and Europe.’
      • ‘Millions of pounds were wiped off the value of the company as the share price plunged by 45p to 185p in the first half hour of trading after the surprise announcement to the Stock Exchange.’
      • ‘The Iseq index has lost over 10 per cent in the last three months alone, wiping millions off the value of shares and potentially eroding the value of pension and insurance endowment policies linked to the stock market.’
      • ‘Scotland's homes are facing a staggering repair bill of £6.5bn in a crisis that is threatening to wipe a substantial amount off the value of the property market.’
      • ‘The decision to continue operating meant IFI continued to accumulate major losses and wiped millions off funds available for pension and redundancy packages.’
      • ‘In recent years, falling stock markets have wiped out a large chunk of many companies' reserves.’
      • ‘But these gains have been more than wiped out by the fall in markets throughout February.’
      • ‘The impact of the global downturn in the construction sector has wiped billions off the value of stocks in the sector.’
      • ‘A profits warning wiped a fifth off the value of the company in one day's trading.’
      • ‘Five profit warnings have wiped billions off the market value of Morrison.’
      • ‘Fears of a slump in internet advertising and a realisation that the PC market can't keep growing at its usual 15-20 per cent a year, has wiped millions off the value of even big tech companies like Cisco and Intel.’
      • ‘The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 20 percent in one day, wiping out close to $1 trillion in wealth.’
      • ‘Billions of euros were wiped off the value of shares worldwide yesterday after the extent of losses at WorldCom sent markets into freefall.’
  • wipe out

    • 1Fall over or off a vehicle.

      1. 1.1Be capsized by a wave while surfing.
        • ‘Ever wonder what a surfer sees before he wipes out under a building-high wave?’
        • ‘Some say Mortimer wipes out on more waves than he makes.’
  • wipe someone out

    • 1Kill a large number of people.

      ‘the plague had wiped out whole villages’
      • ‘Then we will be able to massacre them, and wipe them out while they are at their weakest.’
      • ‘If we don't co-operate with them, they kill us, wipe us out of existence.’
      • ‘We don't relish the thought of destroying innocents, wiping out cultures.’
      destroy, annihilate, eradicate, eliminate, extirpate
      slaughter, massacre, kill, kill off, exterminate
      demolish, raze to the ground, level
      wipe off the face of the earth, wipe off the map, take out, liquidate, zap
      View synonyms
    • 2Ruin someone financially.

      • ‘By the time the company filed for bankruptcy, she was wiped out, losing more than $65,000 from her 401, another $80,000 in stock options, and more than $65,000 in severance pay to which she was entitled.’
      • ‘If American Golf declared bankruptcy, he could be wiped out financially.’
      • ‘After the ‘tech bubble‘burst, they were wiped out; her subsequent prayers for financial sustenance were loud and clear.’
      • ‘Reports that Laura has wiped Bruno out financially are, says Warren, nonsense. ‘He's got plenty of money left, whatever people wrote about his divorce settlement.’
      • ‘One of these lawsuits finally wiped him out financially.’
    • 3Exhaust or intoxicate someone.

  • wipe something out

    • Eliminate something completely.

      ‘their life savings were wiped out’
      • ‘The protagonist, of course, has the job of tracking down the source of this virus and wiping it out.’
      • ‘Fortunately, there are thousands of scientists working all over the world probing this disease - its roots and mechanisms - in order to wipe it out once and for all.’
      • ‘I think what you need to consider is the possibility of wiping that debt out completely - your number of $200 billion is correct.’
      • ‘The treatment stopped the cancer within a week, completely wiping it out in some animals.’
      • ‘If you punish bad behavior, the net effect is not, as intended, to wipe it out - but, instead, to drive it underground and inadvertently entrench it.’


Old English wīpian, of Germanic origin; related to whip.