from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To erase or strike out: "I have corrected some factual slips, expunged some repetitions” ( Kenneth Tynan).
  • transitive v. To eliminate completely; annihilate. See Synonyms at erase.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To erase or strike out.
  • v. To eliminate completely; annihilate.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To blot out, as with pen; to rub out; to efface designedly; to obliterate; to strike out wholly.
  • transitive v. To strike out; to wipe out or destroy; to annihilate.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To mark or blot out, as with a pen; rub out; erase, as words; obliterate.
  • Figuratively, to efface; strike out or wipe out; destroy; annihilate.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. remove by erasing or crossing out or as if by drawing a line


Latin expungere : ex-, ex- + pungere, to prick; see peuk- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin expungere, present active infinitive of expungo, from ex + pungo. (Wiktionary)


  • If there's one capitalism-red-in-tooth-and-nail aphorism that I'd like to expunge from the English language, it's that ugly, untrue US apeshit about 'nice guys come last'.

    British Blogs

  • As it turned out, I was mistaken, and my students reacted insteadin retrospect I can very well see whyto the considerable aggression Simpson's essay also shows toward a "postmodern cultural studies," and to the essay's unfortunate way of conflating a frivolous and generally reactionary position (posthistoire) with a serious positionone which Simpson himself rather reductively describes as the "history of some uncontested hegemony (orientalism, sexism, homophobia, Eurocentrism, and so on) which it is the critic's task to expunge from the present by the fierce light of radical intelligence."

    Presentism and the Archives

  • (in the more common leftist-anarchist version), much of cultural studies has no need for history, which tends to appear, if it appears at all, in parodic or reductive form as a history of some uncontested hegemony (orientalism, sexism, homophobia, Eurocentrism, and so on) which it is the critic's task to expunge from the present by the fierce light of radical intelligence.

    Is Literary History the History of Everything? The Case for 'Antiquarian' History

  • Labour's favourite think-tank says that because it would be hard to 'expunge' Christmas from the national calendar, 'even-handedness' means public organisations must start giving other religions equal footing.

    Archive 2007-10-01

  • In his persistent and famous efforts to 'expunge' the resolutions of censure on Gen. Jackson that had been placed in the Senate journal, Benton had found it necessary to revolutionize the sentiments or change the composition of the Senate.

    The Continental Monthly, Vol. 1, No. 4, April, 1862 Devoted To Literature And National Policy

  • Geoff Morrell, Pentagon press secretary, said troops' lives would be jeopardised by the disclosure, and urged WikiLeaks to "expunge" the "stolen material" from its website as soon as possible.

    The Guardian World News

  • For example, recently the NASD has come under a lot of criticism for allowing brokers to "expunge" or erase instances of wrongdoing from their records. News

  • He wanted to erase it, expunge it, expel the evil thing forever.

    The Omega Theory

  • We need to expunge our great nation of these traitor.

    Crist quits GOP primary, stage set for three-way race

  • Gleason explained that purpose of this sign and others around the city was to "expunge the myth that this is a Christian nation," as well as to "share the idea that you can be good and do good without a religion or god."

    Atheists' Billboard Falsely Attributes Quote To Thomas Jefferson


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  • 1602 W. FULBECKE 1st. Pt. Parall. 68 These words..were ordered by the Court to be expunged or blotted out.

    May 21, 2008