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[ih-feys] /ɪˈfeɪs/
verb (used with object), effaced, effacing.
to wipe out; do away with; expunge:
to efface one's unhappy memories.
to rub out, erase, or obliterate (outlines, traces, inscriptions, etc.).
to make (oneself) inconspicuous; withdraw (oneself) modestly or shyly.
1480-90; < Middle French effacer. See ef-, face
Related forms
effaceable, adjective
effacement, noun
effacer, noun
uneffaceable, adjective
uneffaced, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for effacing
  • The touches of self-effacing humor were a wise decision.
  • In many cultures, humility is prized, and leaders are open and self-effacing.
  • Reliant on camouflage and deception, on the rhetoric of the believable lie, it is an act both audacious and self-effacing.
  • When he met with editors to talk about his latest reporting triumph, he was self-effacing and sincere.
  • He drew with an efficient medium-weight line-not particularly bold and brash, but not anxious and self-effacing.
  • He was a perfect gentleman: self-effacing, tolerant to a fault, and a consummate listener.
  • He confounded those who thought he was too dilettantish and self-effacing to be a proper president.
  • Though not exactly self-effacing, he is clearly more comfortable talking and thinking about subjects other than himself.
  • As compelling as she is on-screen, in real life she can be restrained and self-effacing to the point of blandness.
British Dictionary definitions for effacing


verb (transitive)
to obliterate or make dim: to efface a memory
to make (oneself) inconspicuous or humble through modesty, cowardice, or obsequiousness
to rub out (a line, drawing, etc); erase
Derived Forms
effaceable, adjective
effacement, noun
effacer, noun
Word Origin
C15: from French effacer, literally: to obliterate the face; see face
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for effacing



late 15c., from Middle French effacer, from Old French esfacier (12c.) "to wipe out, destroy," literally "to remove the face," from es- "out" (see ex-) + face "appearance," from Latin facies "face" (see face (n.)). Related: Effaced; effacing. Cf. deface.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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