To deracinate someone is to force them to move away from their native home to a new, unfamiliar place. Civil wars often deracinate large segments of a country’s population.

Deracinate comes from the Old French desraciner, “pull up by the roots.” When you deracinate people, they’re figuratively pulled up by the roots, usually with the intention of “planting” them in a new location. Historically, U.S. policies deracinated Native American tribes, relocating them to reservations. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina deracinated many people whose neighborhoods became unlivable. You can also use this verb more literally: “I’m going to deracinate that lavender plant and put it in a sunnier spot.”

Definitions of deracinate
  1. verb

    pull up by or as if by the roots

    extirpate, root out, uproot
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    pull up (weeds) by their roots
    type of:

    displace, move

    cause to move or shift into a new position or place, both in a concrete and in an abstract sense

  2. verb

    move (people) forcibly from their homeland into a new and foreign environment

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    type of:


    cause to move, usually with force or pressure

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