To raze something is to tear it down completely or to destroy it completely, as if you're scraping away every last bit of it.
Part of speech:
Often a transitive verb.
(Like "eat," "try," and "want," all transitive verbs do something to an object.
You eat a banana, try a game, and want a new phone.
Likewise, you raze something.)
Also sometimes an intransitive verb:
You raze out something, raze something out of something else, or raze something from something else.
How to use it:
For the more literal meaning of "to destroy and demolish so that nothing is left," talk about razing a house or apartment building, razing a factory or a hotel, or razing something intangible: razing a culture, razing a language, razing a tradition, etc.
For the more figurative meaning of "to totally ruin or totally remove something," talk about razing out something, razing something out ofsomething else, or razing something from something else: "We tried to raze out every ain't and I seen and done gone." "It was a desire that he couldn't raze out of his soul." "She razed the memory from her mind."
If you're a weak student hoping to become a doctor, your introductory science courses in college may very well crush your dreams and raze your hopes.
The first forty-five minutes on hold will test my patience, but a dropped call any time after that razes it.
Look away from the screen to explain the definition in your own words. You’ll know you understand what "raze" means when you can explain it without saying "demolish" or "obliterate."
Think of something that captured your attention and made you totally forget about something else, and fill in the blanks: "(The new thing) utterly razed (the old thing) from my mind."
Example: "The style attribute in CSS that you can stick straight into any other HTML tag is amazing. For better or worse, it utterly razed from my mind the notion of making clean, well-coded, separate style sheets."
Spend at least 20 seconds occupying your mind with the game and quote below. Then try the review questions. Don’t go straight to the review now—let your working memory empty out first.
Playing With Words:
We're playing with clichés this month, examining the origins of some colorful ones. I’ll give you a cliché (some of which you might also call a proverb and/or an idiom) and pose a multiple-choice question about its origin. (I used this nifty book as a reference!)
Yesterday's question: To “go against the grain” is to do something in an abnormal, awkward, or wrong way. Did we get this cliché from working with wheat, wood, or wax?
Answer: Wood. Cutting it against the grain is cutting it in the opposite direction of the wood fibers’ natural growth.
Try this one today: To “hang loose” is to chill out, to be relaxed. Did we take this cliché from team sports, investing, or sailing?
A Point Well Made:
Aristotle: “I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who overcomes his enemies.”
1. The opposite of RAZE is
2. In the story, _____ have nearly razed humanity.
A. zombies B. pop stars
C. excellent medicines
Answers are below.
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Make Your Point is crafted with love and brought to you each day for free by Mrs. Liesl Johnson, M.Ed., a word lover, learning enthusiast, and private tutor of reading and writing in the verdant little town of Hilo, Hawaii. For writing tips, online learning, essay guidance, and more, please visit www.HiloTutor.com.
Disclaimer: Word meanings presented here are expressed in plain language and are limited to common, useful applications only. Readers interested in authoritative and multiple definitions of words are encouraged to check a dictionary. Likewise, word meanings, usage, and pronunciations are limited to American English; these elements may vary across world Englishes.
Like a toaster toasts and an actor acts, a razor razes. Right? Yes! To raze is to scrape things away, but it's mostly figurative these days. So you can see how "raze" is related not just to "razor" but also "erase."
Here's a related adjective we've looked at that means "scraping, or causing annoyance and anger:" __ras___. Can you recall it?
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