Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for February 9, 2020 is:

expunge • ik-SPUNJ  • verb

1 : to strike out, obliterate, or mark for deletion

2 : to efface completely : destroy

3 : to eliminate from one’s consciousness


As part of the plea bargain, the defendant’s record will be expunged after 100 hours of community service.

“Now, court officials and prosecutors are bracing for a possible flood of people seeking to expunge their criminal records beginning Jan. 1 under a new law passed by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.” — Colleen Heild and Katy Barnitz, The Albuquerque Journal, 29 Dec. 2019

Did you know?

In medieval and Renaissance manuscripts, a series of dots was used to mark mistakes or to label material that should be deleted from a text, and those deletion dots can help you remember the history of expunge. They were known as puncta delentia. The puncta part of the name derives from the Latin verb pungere, which can be translated as “to prick or sting” (and you can imagine that a scribe may have felt stung when their mistakes were so punctuated in a manuscript). Pungere is also an ancestor of expunge, as well as a parent of other dotted, pointed, or stinging terms such as punctuate, compunction, poignant, puncture, and pungent.

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