o·blit·er·ate (ə-blĭtə-rāt′, ō-blĭt-)
tr.v. o·blit·er·at·ed, o·blit·er·at·ing, o·blit·er·ates
1. To remove or destroy completely so as to leave no trace. See Synonyms at annihilate.
2. To render invisible or unreadable, as by erasing or marking over: "The name [on the door] had been crudely obliterated with thick, heavy strokes of black paint" (F. Paul Wilson).
3. Medicine To remove completely (a body organ or part), as by surgery, disease, or radiation.
[Latin oblitterāre, oblitterāt-, to erase, from ob litterās (scrībere), (to write) over letters (ob, over; see OB- + litterās, accusative pl. of littera, letter) and from oblītus, past participle of oblīvīscī, to forget; see OBLIVION.]
o·bliter·a′tive (-ə-rā′tĭv, -ər-ə-tĭv) adj.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.