Definition of efface in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /əˈfās/


[with object]
1Erase (a mark) from a surface: with time, the words are effaced by the frost and the rain figurative his anger was effaced when he stepped into the open air
More example sentences
  • Is the carnage associated with them a result of lurid scriptural interpretations of religion which have effaced the life of the spirit?
  • To subordinate the essentially cinematic as he does is itself a technique of ineffable skill; and to efface his signature as a director from the style of a film argues a modest purity of aim that is refreshing.
  • Only by grossly simplifying and distorting the data, particularly in the domain of literary and textual production, can such differences be effaced or ignored between the cultures in the Republic and Northern Ireland.
erase, eradicate, expunge, blot out, rub out, wipe out, remove, eliminate;
delete, cancel, obliterate
2 (efface oneself) Make oneself appear insignificant or inconspicuous.
Example sentences
  • As author, she effaces herself absolutely in order to reflect and depict the story of Narcissus.
  • She had effaced herself when he first knew her; she had made herself small, pretending there was less of her than there really was.
  • The Talmud states that people's prayers are not accepted unless they efface themselves before God.
make oneself inconspicuous, keep out of sight, keep out of the limelight, lie low, keep a low profile, withdraw (oneself)



Pronunciation: /əˈfāsmənt/ Pronunciation: /eˈfāsmənt/ Pronunciation: /ēˈfāsmənt/
Example sentences
  • They also inadvertently revealed the scope of art history's effacement of this context of practice.
  • Strikingly addressed are the hypocrisies and effacement within the tourist trade.
  • It was an entirely sympathetic presentation, in which there was an effacement of the self, and a presentation of a fascinating body of work, where you're supposed to go with the writer into the houses of flagellation or the houses of prayer.


Late 15th century (in the sense 'pardon or be absolved from (an offense)'): from French effacer, from e- (from Latin ex- 'away from') + face 'face'.

Words that rhyme with efface

abase, ace, apace, backspace, base, bass, brace, case, chase, dace, embrace, encase, enchase, enlace, face, grace, interlace, interspace, in-your-face, lace, mace, misplace, outface, outpace, pace, place, plaice, race, space, Thrace, trace, upper case

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: ef·face

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.