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[uh-blit-uh-reyt] /əˈblɪt əˌreɪt/
verb (used with object), obliterated, obliterating.
to remove or destroy all traces of; do away with; destroy completely.
to blot out or render undecipherable (writing, marks, etc.); efface.
Origin of obliterate
1590-1600; < Latin oblitterātus (past participle of oblitterāre, efface, cause to be forgotten), equivalent to ob- ob- + litter(a) letter1 + -ātus -ate1
Related forms
[uh-blit-er-uh-buh l] /əˈblɪt ər ə bəl/ (Show IPA),
obliterator, noun
half-obliterated, adjective
unobliterated, adjective
2. expunge. See cancel. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for obliterate
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Why did the church itself seek to obliterate—as though they were a breathing menace—all who stood outside its doors?

    Cytherea Joseph Hergesheimer
  • It would be vain for him to try to obliterate the traces of his priesthood.

  • All should unite in honest efforts to obliterate the effects of the war and to restore the blessing of peace.

    Recollections and Letters of General Robert E. Lee (His Son) Captain Robert E. Lee
  • Could he but obliterate as completely the dread reckoning of another world!

  • The domestic cow is another animal whose ways I have a chance to study, and also to obliterate in the garden.

  • Was he, at last, ashamed, and trying to obliterate the memory of his jealousy?

    The Genius Margaret Horton Potter
British Dictionary definitions for obliterate


(transitive) to destroy every trace of; wipe out completely
Derived Forms
obliteration, noun
obliterative, adjective
obliterator, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin oblitterāre to erase, from ob- out + littera letter
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 obliterate

c.1600, from Latin obliteratus, past participle of obliterare "cause to disappear, blot out, erase, efface," figuratively "cause to be forgotten," from ob "against" (see ob-) + littera (also litera) "letter, script" (see letter (n.)); abstracted from phrase literas scribere "write across letters, strike out letters." Related: Obliterated; obliterating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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obliterate in Medicine

obliterate o·blit·er·ate (ə-blĭt'ə-rāt', ō-blĭt'-)
v. o·blit·er·at·ed, o·blit·er·at·ing, o·blit·er·ates

  1. To remove an organ or another body part completely, as by surgery, disease, or radiation.

  2. To blot out, especially through filling of a natural space by fibrosis or inflammation.

o·blit'er·a'tion n.
o·blit'er·a'tive (-ə-rā'tĭv, -ər-ə-tĭv) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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