obliterate \uh-BLIT-uh-rayt\ verb
1 a : to remove utterly from recognition or memory *b : to remove from
existence : destroy utterly all trace, indication, or significance of c
: to cause to disappear (as a bodily part or a scar) or collapse (as a
duct conveying body fluid)
2 : to make undecipherable or imperceptible by obscuring or wearing
3 : to deface (a postage or revenue stamp) especially with a set of
ink lines so as to invalidate for reuse : cancel
Far from being removed from existence, “obliterate” is thriving in our
language today with various senses that it has acquired over the years.
True to its Latin source, “oblitteratus,” it began in the mid-16th
century as a word for removing something from memory. Soon after,
English speakers began to use it for the specific act of blotting out
or obscuring anything written. Eventually (by the late 18th century),
its meaning was generalized to removing anything from existence. In the
meantime, another sense had developed. In the late 17th century,
physicians began using “obliterate” for the surgical act of filling or
closing up a vessel, cavity, or passage with tissue. Its final stamp on
the English lexicon was delivered in the mid-19th century: “to cancel a
postage or revenue stamp.”
In making anything, creation moves to destruction, the cycles turning again and again…
Once written, then erased…
The word: ob-literate.
Though the cairn rose against the tide, by the surging fall, it was all but obliterated.