wipe / wīp/ • v. [tr.] clean or dry (something) by rubbing its surface with a cloth, a piece of paper, or one's hand: Paul wiped his face with a handkerchief he wiped down the kitchen wall. ∎ [tr.] remove (dirt or moisture) from something by rubbing its surface with a cloth, a piece of paper, or one's hand: she wiped away a tear. ∎ clean (something) by rubbing it against a surface: the man wiped his hands on his hips. ∎ [tr.] spread (a liquid) over a surface by rubbing: gently wipe the lotion over the eyelids. ∎ [tr.] fig. remove or eliminate (something) completely: things have happened to wipe the smile off Kate's face. ∎ erase (data) from a magnetic medium.• n. 1. an act of wiping.2. a piece of disposable absorbent cloth or paper, esp. one treated with a cleansing agent, for wiping something clean.3. a 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.PHRASES: wipe the floor with inf. inflict a humiliating defeat on: they wiped the floor with us in a 36-6 win.wipe the slate clean forgive or forget past faults or offenses; make a fresh start.PHRASAL VERBS: wipe something off subtract an amount from a value or debt: the crash wiped 24 percent off stock prices.wipe out inf. fall over or off a vehicle. ∎ be capsized by a wave while surfing.wipe someone out1. kill a large number of people: the plague had wiped out whole villages.2. (usu. be wiped out) ruin someone financially.3. inf. exhaust or intoxicate someone.wipe something out eliminate something completely: their life savings were wiped out.DERIVATIVES: wipe·a·ble adj.