v. ef·faced, ef·fac·ing, ef·fac·es
1. To rub or wipe out; erase: The serial number had been effaced from the stolen product.
2. To remove or make indistinct: "Five years' absence had done nothing to efface the people's memory of his firmness" (Alan Moorehead).
3. To conduct (oneself) inconspicuously: "When the two women went out together, Anna deliberately effaced herself and played to the dramatic Molly" (Doris Lessing).
4. Medicine To cause to become shorter, softer, and thinner during labor: The cervix was effaced as the contractions continued.
Medicine To become shorter, softer, and thinner during labor. Used of the cervix.
[Middle English effacen, from French effacer, from Old French esfacier : es-, out (from Latin ex-, ex-) + face, face; see FACE.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.