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 ©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.