wipe out

Idioms & Phrases

wipe out

  1. Destroy, as in The large chains are wiping out the independent bookstores. Originally put simply as wipe, the idiom acquired out in the first half of the 1800s.

  2. Kill; also, murder. For example, The entire crew was wiped out in the plane crash, or The gangsters threatened to wipe him and his family out. [Late 1800s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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