Definition of wipe in English:

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Pronunciation: /wʌɪp/


[with object]
1Clean or dry (something) by rubbing with a cloth, a piece of paper, or one’s hand: Paulie wiped his face with a handkerchief he wiped down the kitchen wall
More example sentences
  • Lidiah replied holding up her dagger to the sun rays before bringing it back down to a piece of cloth to wipe it gently.
  • Remsi, who was dying a piece of cloth red, wiped his hands clean, though they remained stained, stood up, and held his hand out.
  • I picked the cloth up and wiped my face as clean as I could, I gave my hands a quick wipe and put the cloth back on the table.
rub, clean, mop, sponge, swab;
dry, polish;
Scottish & Northern English  dight
1.1 [with adverbial] Remove (dirt or moisture) from something by wiping: she wiped away a tear
More example sentences
  • She wiped mud, dirt and tears off her face and snatched the paper.
  • Balen picks up the stone and wipes the sand and dirt from it.
  • He sniffed, wiping the dirt and tears off his face, though also smearing.
rub off, clean off, sponge off, polish off;
remove, get rid of, dispose of, take off, erase, efface
clean up, clear up, mop up, sponge up;
remove, get rid of
1.2Clean (something) by rubbing it against a surface: the man wiped his hands on his hips
More example sentences
  • After each pass of the scraper, wipe the surface clean - it'll achieve a smoother application.
  • Jim tossed the pits into the brush and wiped his hands on his pants.
  • I brushed it aside and wiped my hands on my jeans before unloading my stuff from my bag.
1.3 [with adverbial] Spread (a liquid) over a surface by rubbing: gently wipe the lotion over the eyelids
More example sentences
  • After cleaning the plate, colored ink is rubbed into the grooves and then carefully wiped off the flat surface of the plate.
  • External lipid barriers spread by wiping provide a logical means of waterproofing when the skin doesn't do the job on its own.
  • Spray a bit on a shop cloth, then use that to wipe down any metal surfaces in need of ‘rust preventing.’
2 [with adverbial] Remove or eliminate (something) completely: their life savings were wiped out things have happened to wipe the smile off Kate’s face
More example sentences
  • Suddenly the Gats treaty is not about trade at all, but a sly means to wipe away restrictions on business and industry, foreign and local.
  • I still have lots and was pleased to discover that a five year rest was sufficient to wipe away burnout.
  • Hopefully this change will not wipe away traces of the past, however horrific, before you have a chance to go there.
obliterate, expunge, erase, blot out, remove, remove all traces of, blank out
2.1Erase (data) from a tape, computer, etc. a virus that can wipe information from computer hard disks the tapes have been wiped
More example sentences
  • Then you put the CD into the computer you want to wipe and reboot.
  • Unfortunately, all such information had been wiped from the computer.
  • Remember those programs I described that wipe clean your computer to keep others from knowing where and when you surfed?
2.2Australian /NZ informal Reject or dismiss (a person or idea): you can wipe that idea, if that’s what you’re thinking
3Pass (a swipe card) over an electronic reader: a customer wipes the card across the reader and enters his/her identification number
More example sentences
  • There was a strange lack of activity at the Astoria when Astor looked in at the end of the afternoon after wiping a swipe card through a reader to gain access to the lobby.


1An act of wiping: Bert was giving the machine a final wipe over with an oily rag
More example sentences
  • Rinse off then give a final wipe over with a weak solution of vinegar and water to produce a sparkling surface free of streaks.
  • She gave the coffee table a final wipe and gathered her things.
  • A full wipe on your machine solves the problem and gets you a cheap mammoth camera card.
rub, clean, mop, sponge, swab, polish
2A disposable cloth treated with a cleansing agent, for wiping things clean.
Example sentences
  • I keep a box of final wipes in my desk at work and grab one or two when ever I go to the bathroom.
  • I go back into the bathroom to wash my face and see that the daughter, who insisted on helping me clean the tub and the floor, threw some of the used baby wipes in the toilet.
  • Jackie Rose never planned to buy the toilet wipes.
3A cinematographic effect in which an existing picture seems to be wiped out by a new one as the boundary between them moves across the screen.
Example sentences
  • Split screen, weird wipes, floating frames and fades - they guy does everything possible to replicate the look of a comic page, shy of actually shooting one on an animation stand.
  • But there's nothing like corny video star wipes and bad sound effects carefully preserved for decades to come on DVD to horrify future generations.
  • A variety of video effects, such as wipes and dissolves, can help generate a feeling of suspense.



wipe someone's eye

British informal, dated Get the better of someone.
Example sentences
  • I was used to farmers, I always found them easy to deal with, they were down to earth, whereas I felt in the city there were a lot of smart people, who'd wipe your eye very quickly.

wipe the floor with

informal Inflict a humiliating defeat on: they wiped the floor with us in a 3-0 win
More example sentences
  • Not bad in a nation which is currently so powerful on the cricketing front that their talent-studded A team would be confident of wiping the floor with most of the other full test sides.
  • And with 1500 entries and only 6 winners, I undoubtedly wiped the floor with 1493 of them, and finished 7th.
  • Shot on a puny budget on the mean streets of Shepherds Bush, it wiped the floor with most British films when it was released in 2000.

wipe the slate clean

Forget past disagreements or faults and make a fresh start: an amnesty for political offenders which would wipe the slate clean and bury the past
More example sentences
  • It is this ability to wipe the slate clean, to forget history and all its barriers and prejudices, which is behind the attraction of new towns.
  • Well, we at the Olympics have decided to forget all that, wipe the slate clean and put them to an impartial test.
  • I wanted to start afresh, to wipe the slate clean and forget about the endless mother-daughter feud, and finally let go of Ellum.

Phrasal verbs


wipe something off

Subtract an amount from a value or debt: the crash wiped 24 per cent off stock prices
More example sentences
  • Scotland's homes are facing a staggering repair bill of £6.5bn in a crisis that is threatening to wipe a substantial amount off the value of the property market.
  • Five profit warnings have wiped billions off the market value of Morrison.
  • A profits warning wiped a fifth off the value of the company in one day's trading.

wipe out

Be capsized by a wave while surfing.
Example sentences
  • Ever wonder what a surfer sees before he wipes out under a building-high wave?
  • Some say Mortimer wipes out on more waves than he makes.
North American 2.1 Fall over or off a vehicle.

wipe someone out

1Kill a large number of people: the plague had wiped out whole villages
More example sentences
  • If we don't co-operate with them, they kill us, wipe us out of existence.
  • Then we will be able to massacre them, and wipe them out while they are at their weakest.
  • We don't relish the thought of destroying innocents, wiping out cultures.
destroy, annihilate, eradicate, eliminate, extirpate;
slaughter, massacre, kill, kill off, exterminate;
demolish, raze to the ground, level
informal wipe off the face of the earth, wipe off the map, take out, liquidate, zap
North American informal waste
literary slay
2Ruin someone financially.
Example sentences
  • If American Golf declared bankruptcy, he could be wiped out financially.
  • Reports that Laura has wiped Bruno out financially are, says Warren, nonsense. ‘He's got plenty of money left, whatever people wrote about his divorce settlement.
  • One of these lawsuits finally wiped him out financially.
3 (be wiped out) informal Be exhausted or intoxicated: I’m so wiped out I’m ready to keel over



Example sentences
  • Matt is useful for disguising uneven surfaces, but marks easily and is not washable (unless it is one of the new ‘wipeable ‘matt emulsions now available).’
  • The first thing to do is to make sure that everything you buy - fabrics, carpets, paint, wallpaper - is either wipeable, washable or Scotch-guarded.
  • In his school, from year 1 to year 6, the pupils are given wipeable white boards so they can experiment with writing more freely than they would with pen and paper.


Old English wīpian, of Germanic origin; related to whip.

Words that rhyme with wipe

gripe, hype, mistype, pipe, ripe, sipe, skype, slype, snipe, stripe, swipe, tripe, type

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: wipe

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