Definition of wipe in English:



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

    ‘Paulie wiped his face with a handkerchief’
    ‘he wiped down the kitchen wall’
    • ‘Remsi, who was dying a piece of cloth red, wiped his hands clean, though they remained stained, stood up, and held his hand out.’
    • ‘I grabbed a cloth and began wiping every single table.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She put the cloth down and wiped her hands on her crisp white apron.’
    • ‘When cooked remove basins and strip lining papers away and wipe the basins clean.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She gave him a bowl of water with which to rinse out his mouth, then fetched a cloth and wiped his face for him.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Take a paper towel and wipe the lemon scent around the sink.’
    • ‘Apologies were made, clothes were wiped down and ‘have some of my drink’ offerings were made all over the place.’
    • ‘After that he took out a white cloth he wiped his face with it.’
    • ‘Using a clean cloth, wipe the warm base with extra effort until no more pine tar shows on the cloth.’
    • ‘Using a clean, wet cloth, wipe the lip of each jar, add a lid and ring and hand tighten.’
    • ‘Taking a paper towel, I wiped the water from my face and stared again into the depths of the mirror once more.’
    • ‘Flushing the toilet and reaching up for a paper towel, she wiped her mouth and closed her eyes, rubbing her temples.’
    • ‘After inspecting the rifle, the inside of the upper receiver, bolt, and bolt carrier were wiped down with a rag and lubricated.’
    • ‘She wiped every part with paper tissues and then placed it in the sunlight.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Brown then grabbed the cloth and wiped his own forehead with it.’
    rub, clean, mop, sponge, swab
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1with adverbial Remove (dirt or moisture) from something by wiping.
      ‘she wiped away a tear’
      • ‘I swipe at my upper lip, wiping away the moisture there.’
      • ‘With the back of her hand she wiped away the moisture from her eyes, mentally kicking herself for getting so emotional over it.’
      • ‘He sniffed, wiping the dirt and tears off his face, though also smearing.’
      • ‘He produced a handkerchief from somewhere and gently wiped the dirt, tears, and blood from my face.’
      • ‘She stood to her feet and wiped as much dirt from her hands as possible.’
      • ‘Balen picks up the stone and wipes the sand and dirt from it.’
      • ‘The bowl is so well preserved, they were able to wipe off the dirt without risk of damage.’
      • ‘When you see the movie you'll notice we didn't even bother to wipe off the bird dirt from the wind shield.’
      • ‘He climbed to his feet, wiping off the dirt that was on his face.’
      • ‘She removed her glasses and wiped away the tears around her eyes.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Let stand overnight, then wipe loosened dirt with paper towels or newspapers.’
      • ‘Her gran and dad stood in the background, wiping away tears.’
      • ‘She put her hand onto his face, wiping away the moisture that suddenly appeared there.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She felt something damp on her head, wiping away the dirt and the blood.’
      • ‘I wiped off the dirt and brushed the leaves from my hair.’
      • ‘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!’
      • ‘She wiped mud, dirt and tears off her face and snatched the paper.’
      • ‘Taking his right glove off he placed a finger on her cheek and wiped away the dirt that was there.’
      rub off, clean off, sponge off, polish off
      clean up, clear up, mop up, sponge up
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    2. 1.2 Clean (something) by rubbing it against a surface.
      ‘the man wiped his hands on his hips’
      • ‘He brushed the dust from his blue waistcoat and wiped his aviator sunglasses on the hem of his shirt.’
      • ‘After each pass of the scraper, wipe the surface clean - it'll achieve a smoother application.’
      • ‘Daria grimaced and removed it, wiping it on her jeans.’
      • ‘If you vacuum your pleated shades be sure to wipe the bristles of the brush frequently.’
      • ‘Jim tossed the pits into the brush and wiped his hands on his pants.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I brushed it aside and wiped my hands on my jeans before unloading my stuff from my bag.’
      • ‘Giles removed his glasses and wiped them with his handkerchief.’
    3. 1.3with adverbial Spread (a liquid) over a surface by rubbing.
      ‘gently wipe the lotion over the eyelids’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Used instruments should be wiped throughout the surgical procedure with sponges moistened with sterile water.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Get the habit of spraying all surfaces with bleach water (cap to quart), and wipe with bleach water rag.’
      • ‘Spray a bit on a shop cloth, then use that to wipe down any metal surfaces in need of ‘rust preventing.’’
      • ‘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
      View synonyms
  • 2with adverbial Remove or eliminate (something) completely.

    ‘their life savings were wiped out’
    ‘things have happened to wipe the smile off Kate's face’
    • ‘On a personal note, Kleenex is indebted to him for all the tissues that girls have used to wipe away tears and heartbreak.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Anything left standing will be wiped off the map by the resulting tsunami.’
    • ‘Hopefully this change will not wipe away traces of the past, however horrific, before you have a chance to go there.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I still have lots and was pleased to discover that a five year rest was sufficient to wipe away burnout.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The budget deficit the Legislature ignored was wiped away with a stroke of my pen.’
    • ‘Freeserve's share price was in free-fall this morning wiping 20 per cent off the value of Britain's biggest ISP.’
    • ‘‘This is not an argument for wiping badgers off the face of the earth,’ he writes.’
    • ‘So the mingling dinosaurs spread diseases and wiped each other out.’
    obliterate, expunge, erase, blot out, remove, remove all traces of, blank out
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    1. 2.1 Erase (data) from a tape, computer, etc.
      ‘a virus that can wipe information from computer hard disks’
      ‘the tapes have been wiped’
      • ‘The virus wiped the source code from his laptop.’
      • ‘It can take care of all the logistics headaches associated with disposing old PCs, including collection and data wiping to military standards.’
      • ‘Then you put the CD into the computer you want to wipe and reboot.’
      • ‘Forbes reports that some encrypted data has subsequently been wiped from the machine.’
      • ‘I'll be providing a few homebrew tools for secure data wiping below, but I really can't recommend them on any other filesystem.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘With this method you wipe not only your files, but your registry and swap file too.’
      • ‘Computers containing sensitive information are supposed to be wiped free of data before being sold on.’
      • ‘Thousands of e-mail users have wiped a legitimate Windows file from their computers in the past week following an elaborate hoax virus alert.’
      • ‘Remember those programs I described that wipe clean your computer to keep others from knowing where and when you surfed?’
      • ‘A good rule of thumb is, never encrypt when you can wipe.’
      • ‘I back up, wipe, format and restore my own system at least three times a week using Mondo's latest release.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, all such information had been wiped from the computer.’
      • ‘Deleted files will be wiped from the disk as thoroughly as they can to reduce the possibility of recovery.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘However, wiping a computer's primary hard disk means it will no longer start as normal.’
      • ‘It'll wipe off all the information that you have on your computer.’
      • ‘The scientists' obsessive activity has wiped the tape - or at least wiped away the thing last recorded onto it.’
      • ‘All he had done was to change the ownership of computers without wiping the hard disks.’
      • ‘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.’
    2. 2.2NZ, Australian informal Reject or dismiss (a person or idea)
      ‘you can wipe that idea, if that's what you're thinking’
  • 3Pass (a swipe card) over an electronic reader.

    ‘a customer wipes the card across the reader and enters his/her identification number’
    • ‘There was a strange lack of activity at the Astoria when Astor looked in at the end of the afternoon after wiping a swipe card through a reader to gain access to the lobby.’


  • 1An act of wiping.

    ‘Bert was giving the machine a final wipe over with an oily rag’
    • ‘I also use a quick wipe of the Floral Skin Toner when my skin feels grubby.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A full wipe on your machine solves the problem and gets you a cheap mammoth camera card.’
    • ‘Giving it a quick wipe with a towel, he dabs some ‘chunnam’ (slaked lime) on the leaf.’
    • ‘She gave the coffee table a final wipe and gathered her things.’
    • ‘Rinse off then give a final wipe over with a weak solution of vinegar and water to produce a sparkling surface free of streaks.’
    • ‘My palms are soaked with sweat, I give them a quick wipe on my skirt before I place my hand in his.’
    rub, clean, mop, sponge, swab, polish
    View synonyms
  • 2A disposable cloth treated with a cleansing agent, for wiping things clean.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I keep a box of final wipes in my desk at work and grab one or two when ever I go to the bathroom.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Jackie Rose never planned to buy the toilet wipes.’
    • ‘Palmer has even called in sponsorship from an insect - repellent manufacturer, providing wipes to keep Glasgow's bloodsuckers at bay.’
    • ‘She said staff used antiseptic wipes for some equipment.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Experts say regular use of anti-bacterial wipes and specialist IT contractors can help restrict keyboard infection rates.’
    • ‘We had to resort to using baby wipes to freshen up.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Neurotics, hand-washers, and obsessive counters - lend me your wet 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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘We soldiers can only get so many packages filled with snacks, baby wipes, magazines, and other nonessential items.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I haven't had a single attack since I began using baby wipes instead of toilet paper.’
    • ‘Now, a box of 384 premade wipes costs around $10.’
    • ‘The manufacturers believe toilet-goers find a damp wipe used in conjunction with normal dry paper leaves them feeling fresher and cleaner.’
  • 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.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The film itself is a mix of bad video, better filmed bits, excellent animation, and a bunch of old school transitional wipes.’
    • ‘In the Tricked Out Version you get fancy fades and wipes that honestly end up being more annoying than cool.’
    • ‘This includes the cross dissolve and a selection of the wipe and iris transitions.’
    • ‘Uniquely, almost every edit in the film is a straight cut - there are almost no wipes, dissolves, pans, or other techniques used.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Processor speed and power will significantly affect the time taken to render special effects, such as dissolves, wipes etc, in video editing packages.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He sets up multi-frame shots, emulating the look of a comic book, with a plethora of flashy screen wipes and dissolves.’
    • ‘He even uses wipes during a crucial dramatic sequence.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘An optical wipe introduces the second section, also accompanied by drums but this time at a beating-heart tempo.’
    • ‘Overall, everything moves at a good pace, and the various wipes and instant replays don't detract the least from the action.’
    • ‘There is laptop trickery (bad wipes and awkward cuts) throughout the concert.’
    • ‘Through a series of wipes, the screen splits into as many as eight images simultaneously fighting for the viewer's attention.’
    • ‘Nothing boosts the production value of your video quite like adding transistions and wipes between every clip.’


  • wipe someone's eye

    • dated, informal Get the better of someone.

      • ‘I was used to farmers, I always found them easy to deal with, they were down to earth, whereas I felt in the city there were a lot of smart people, who'd wipe your eye very quickly.’
  • wipe the floor with

    • informal Inflict a humiliating defeat on.

      ‘they wiped the floor with us in a 3–0 win’
      • ‘Bermuda and the Cayman Islands are wiping the floor with the Bahamas and cleaning up in the financial services sector.’
      • ‘It wiped the floor with almost any other action scene I've ever watched.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Basketball players from one North Yorkshire school have been wiping the floor with the opposition after completing an unbeaten run of two years.’
      • ‘But hey, he wiped the floor with that 19th placed horse, and let's face it, the race was probably fixed anyway.’
      • ‘I was looking forward to wiping the floor with him, plus relieving him of the five pounds that we had bet on the contest.’
      • ‘Unfortunately my nephew noticed I was better than before and just raised his game a notch and still wiped the floor with me.’
      • ‘And with 1500 entries and only 6 winners, I undoubtedly wiped the floor with 1493 of them, and finished 7th.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘We wanted to wipe the floor with them, but they wouldn't let us.’
      • ‘She totally wiped the floor with him, and it was a delight to hear all the other passengers laughing and cheering.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But I'm encouraged by the fact nobody's wiped the floor with us, not even Chelsea.’
      • ‘They got the goal, they got the momentum and then in the second half of extra-time they just wiped the floor with 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Built as a summer palace in the ninth century, it predates the Alhambra of Granada - and wipes the floor with it, in my opinion.’
      • ‘On other European occasions, we came back and wiped the floor with our opponents.’
      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

    • Forget past disagreements or faults and make a fresh start.

      ‘an amnesty for political offenders which would wipe the slate clean and bury the past’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But until you can get credit again, you cannot prove you have wiped the slate clean.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He wrote: ‘Let bygones be bygones, wipe the slate clean and work toward peace.’’
      • ‘We're the new owners with new ideas and we're making a fresh start and we're going to wipe the slate clean.’
      • ‘So, he'd moved him and his sister to Atlanta, in the hopes that he could start fresh, wipe the slate clean.’
      • ‘Off to the big city to seek her fortune; to escape her past, her burnt bridges; 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Serialism was vital in the way it wiped the slate clean, invoking a new year zero where everything would be up for grabs.’
      • ‘We are going to wipe the slate clean and go back to the drawing board.’
      • ‘Can we please just wipe the slate clean and get a new government?’
      • ‘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!’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I wanted to start afresh, to wipe the slate clean and forget about the endless mother-daughter feud, and finally let go of Ellum.’
      • ‘However, due to a recovery plan now in force, they hope to have wiped the slate clean by March, 2005.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘To let things go, to wipe the slate clean, to forgive, to forget.’
      • ‘Well, we at the Olympics have decided to forget all that, wipe the slate clean and put them to an impartial test.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • wipe something off

    • Subtract an amount from a value or debt.

      ‘the crash wiped 24 per cent off stock prices’
      • ‘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 impact of the global downturn in the construction sector has wiped billions off the value of stocks in the sector.’
      • ‘Literally trillions of dollars have been wiped off the value of savings and retirement plans across America and Europe.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A profits warning wiped a fifth off the value of the company in one day's trading.’
      • ‘Billions of pounds were wiped off the value of Britain's biggest banks while their European equivalents fell on average by 8%.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Stock markets dropped to their lowest levels for five years, wiping billions off Britain's pensions.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But these gains have been more than wiped out by the fall in markets throughout February.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Troubled Manchester holiday firm MyTravel plunged deep into crisis today as millions of pounds were wiped off its value.’
      • ‘Five profit warnings have wiped billions off the market value of Morrison.’
  • wipe out

    • 1Be capsized by a wave while surfing.

      • ‘Some say Mortimer wipes out on more waves than he makes.’
      • ‘Ever wonder what a surfer sees before he wipes out under a building-high wave?’
      1. 1.1North American Fall over or off a vehicle.
  • wipe someone out

    • 1Kill a large number of people.

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

      • ‘If American Golf declared bankruptcy, he could be wiped out financially.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘One of these lawsuits finally wiped him out financially.’
      • ‘After the ‘tech bubble‘burst, they were wiped out; her subsequent prayers for financial sustenance were loud and clear.’
    • 3Be exhausted or intoxicated.

      ‘I'm so wiped out I'm ready to keel over’


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