Etymology
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obliterate (v.)

"blot out, cause to disappear, remove all traces of, wipe out," c. 1600, from Latin obliteratus, past participle of obliterare "cause to disappear, blot out (a writing), erase, efface," figuratively "cause to be forgotten, blot out a remembrance," from ob "against" (see ob-) + littera (also litera) "letter, script" (see letter (n.)). The verb was abstracted from the phrase literas scribere "write across letters, strike out letters." Related: Obliterated; obliterating.

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obliteration (n.)

"act of obliterating or effacing, a blotting out or wearing out, fact of being obliterated, extinction," 1650s, from Late Latin obliterationem (nominative obliteratio), noun of action from past-participle stem of obliterare "cause to disappear, blot out (a writing)," figuratively "cause to be forgotten, blot out a remembrance" (see obliterate).

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oblivion (n.)

late 14c., oblivioun, "state or fact of forgetting, forgetfulness, loss of memory," from Old French oblivion (13c.) and directly from Latin oblivionem (nominative oblivio) "forgetfulness; a being forgotten," from oblivisci (past participle oblitus) "forget," which is of uncertain origin.

Perhaps originally "even out, smooth over, efface," from ob "over" (see ob-) + root of lēvis "smooth," but de Vaan and others find that "a semantic shift from 'to be smooth' to 'to forget' is not very convincing." However no better explanation has emerged. Latin lēvis also meant "rubbed smooth, ground down," from PIE *lehiu-, from root *(s)lei- "slime, slimy, sticky" (see slime (n.)); for sense evolution, compare obliterate.

Meaning "state or condition of being forgotten or lost to memory" is from early 15c. In English history, the Acts of Oblivion use the word in the sense of "intentional overlooking" (1610s), especially of political offenses. Related: Obliviously; obliviousness.

Oblivion is the state into which a thing passes when it is thoroughly and finally forgotten. ... Forgetfulness is a quality of a person: as a man remarkable for his forgetfulness. ... Obliviousness stands for a sort of negative act, a complete failure to remember: as a person's obliviousness of the proprieties of an occasion. [Century Dictionary]
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wipeout (n.)
also wipe-out, 1962, American English, surfer slang, from wipe (v.) + out. Sense of "destruction, defeat, a killing" is recorded from 1968. Verbal phrase wipe out "destroy, obliterate" is from 1610s.
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blot (v.)
early 15c., "to make blots (with ink), disfigure with blots," also figurative; mid-15c. "to blot out, obliterate" (words), from blot (n.). Related: Blotted; blotting.
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extinguish (v.)

"to put out, quench, stifle," 1540s, from Latin extinguere/exstinguere "quench, put out (what is burning); wipe out, obliterate," from ex "out" (see ex-) + stinguere "quench," apparently an evolved sense from PIE *steig- "to prick, stick, pierce" (see stick (v.)). But see distinguish (v.). Related: Extinguished; extinguishing.

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deface (v.)
Origin and meaning of deface

mid-14c., "to obliterate" (writing); late 14c., "to mar the face or surface of," from Old French desfacier "mutilate, destroy, disfigure," from des- "away from" (see dis-) + Vulgar Latin *facia (see face (n.)). Weaker sense of "to mar, make ugly" is late 14c. in English. Related: Defaced; defacing.

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efface (v.)
Origin and meaning of efface

"to erase or obliterate," especially something written or carved, late 15c., from French effacer, from Old French esfacier (12c.) "to wipe out, destroy," literally "to remove the face," from es- "out" (see ex-) + face "appearance," from Latin facies "face" (see face (n.)). Related: Effaced; effacing; effaceable. Compare deface.

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wash-out (n.)
also washout, 1877, "act of washing out" (a drain, etc.), from verbal phrase; see wash (v.) + out (adv.). From 1873 as "excavation of a roadbed, etc., by erosion" is from 1873. Meaning "a disappointing failure" is from 1902, from verbal phrase wash out "obliterate, cancel" (something written in ink), attested from 1570s. Hence also the colloquial sense of "to call off (an event) due to bad weather, etc." (1917). Of colored material, washed-out "faded" is from 1837.
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expunge (v.)

"to mark or blot out as with a pen, erase (words), obliterate," c. 1600, from Latin expungere "prick out, blot out, mark (a name on a list) for deletion" by pricking dots above or below it, literally "prick out," from ex "out" (see ex-) + pungere "to prick, pierce" (from suffixed form of PIE root *peuk- "to prick").

According to OED, taken by early lexicographers in English to "denote actual obliteration by pricking;" it adds that the sense probably was influenced by sponge (v.). Related: Expunged; expunging; expungible. In U.S. history, the Expunging Resolution was adopted by the Senate in 1837 to expunge from its journal a resolution passed by it in 1834 censuring President Jackson.

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