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Remove vs. Delete: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 29, 2023
Remove implies taking something away from its place or position, while Delete typically refers to erasing or making something cease to exist, especially in digital contexts.
Remove vs. Delete

Key Differences

Remove often conveys physical or spatial displacement, like moving an object from one location to another. Delete, on the other hand, suggests the elimination of data or content, primarily in digital or written forms. The essence of 'remove' is relocation, whereas 'delete' is about eradication.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 29, 2023
In usage, Remove can imply temporary or reversible action. For example, removing a painting from a wall doesn't imply destruction. In contrast, Delete often indicates a more permanent or irreversible action, like deleting a file from a computer, suggesting it's no longer retrievable in its original form.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 29, 2023
Remove can also indicate the act of eliminating something non-physical, such as removing a person from a position. Delete, however, is commonly used in the context of text and data, signifying the act of permanently erasing information, like deleting a paragraph from an essay.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 29, 2023
When discussing administrative or procedural contexts, Remove can mean to relieve someone from duty or a role, which doesn’t imply destruction but rather a change in status. Delete in such contexts would be inappropriate as it implies erasing or wiping out something, which is not typically applicable to roles or positions.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 29, 2023
Finally, Remove carries a sense of detachment or separation from a group, like removing a name from a list, while Delete resonates with the idea of completely obliterating that entity, as in deleting a name from a database, leaving no trace of its existence.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 29, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Context of Use

Often physical or spatial
Mainly digital or textual
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Dec 29, 2023

Reversibility

Can be temporary or reversible
Usually permanent or irreversible
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Dec 29, 2023

Nature of Action

Displacement or relocation
Eradication or elimination
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Dec 29, 2023

Physical Existence

May still exist elsewhere
Often ceases to exist
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Implied Permanence

Less permanent, more about change
More permanent, implies finality
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Remove and Delete Definitions

Remove

To get rid of something unwanted.
She removed the stain from her dress with some soap.
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Dec 29, 2023

Delete

To eliminate or cancel out information.
He deleted his social media accounts for privacy.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 29, 2023

Remove

To move from a place or position occupied
Removed the cups from the table.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Delete

To remove or clear digital content or entries.
You can delete your search history for more privacy.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 29, 2023

Remove

To transfer or convey from one place to another
Removed the family to Texas.
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Oct 19, 2023
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Delete

To erase or remove text or data.
I accidentally deleted an important email.
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Dec 29, 2023

Remove

To take off
Removed my boots.
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Oct 19, 2023

Delete

To make something cease to exist or be in use.
The editor decided to delete the last paragraph of the article.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 29, 2023

Remove

To take away; withdraw
Removed the candidate's name from consideration.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Delete

To expunge or obliterate written material or records.
Important documents were deleted from the archive.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 29, 2023

Remove

To do away with; eliminate
Remove a stain.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Delete

To cancel, strike out, or make impossible to be perceived
Deleted the expletives from the transcript with a marker.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Remove

To dismiss from an office or position.
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Oct 19, 2023

Delete

To remove from a document or record
Deleted the names from the computer file.
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Oct 19, 2023

Remove

To change one's place of residence or business; move
"In 1751, I removed from the country to the town" (David Hume).
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Delete

To remove (a file, for example) from a hard drive or other storage medium.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Remove

To go away; depart.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Delete

To remove, get rid of or erase, especially written or printed material, or data on a computer or other device.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Remove

To be removable
Paint that removes with water.
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Oct 19, 2023

Delete

To defeat or dominate.
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Oct 19, 2023

Remove

The act of removing; removal.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Delete

To kill or murder.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Remove

Distance or degree of separation or remoteness
"to spill, though at a safe remove, the blood of brave men" (Anthony Burgess).
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Delete

(computing) A deletion.
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Oct 19, 2023

Remove

(transitive) To delete.
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Oct 19, 2023

Delete

(recorded entertainment industry) A remainder of a music or video release.
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Oct 19, 2023

Remove

(transitive) To move something from one place to another, especially to take away.
He removed the marbles from the bag.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Delete

(uncountable) Delete
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Remove

To replace a dish within a course.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Delete

(computing) The delete character (U+007F or %7F).
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Oct 19, 2023

Remove

(transitive) To murder.
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Oct 19, 2023

Delete

To blot out; to erase; to expunge; to dele; to omit.
I have, therefore, . . . inserted eleven stanzas which do not appear in Sir Walter Scott's version, and have deleted eight.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Remove

To dismiss a batsman.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Delete

Remove or make invisible;
Please delete my name from your list
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Remove

(transitive) To discard, set aside, especially something abstract (a thought, feeling, etc.).
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Delete

Wipe out magnetically recorded information
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Remove

To depart, leave.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Delete

Cut or eliminate;
She edited the juiciest scenes
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Remove

(intransitive) To change one's residence; to move.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Remove

To dismiss or discharge from office.
The President removed many postmasters.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Remove

The act of removing something.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Remove

A dish served to replace an earlier one during a meal; a part of a new course.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Remove

(British) at some public schools A division of the school, especially the form prior to last
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Remove

A step or gradation (as in the phrase "at one remove")
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Remove

Distance in time or space; interval.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Remove

Emotional distance or indifference.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Remove

(dated) The transfer of one's home or business to another place; a move.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Remove

The act of resetting a horse's shoe.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Remove

To move away from the position occupied; to cause to change place; to displace; as, to remove a building.
Thou shalt not remove thy neighbor's landmark.
When we had dined, to prevent the ladies' leaving us, I generally ordered the table to be removed.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Remove

To cause to leave a person or thing; to cause to cease to be; to take away; hence, to banish; to destroy; to put an end to; to kill; as, to remove a disease.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Remove

To dismiss or discharge from office; as, the President removed many postmasters.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Remove

To change place in any manner, or to make a change in place; to move or go from one residence, position, or place to another.
Till Birnam wood remove to Dunsinane,I can not taint with fear.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Remove

The act of removing; a removal.
This place should be at once both school and university, not needing a remove to any other house of scholarship.
And drags at each remove a lengthening chain.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Remove

The transfer of one's business, or of one's domestic belongings, from one location or dwelling house to another; - in the United States usually called a move.
It is an English proverb that three removes are as bad as a fire.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Remove

The state of being removed.
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Oct 19, 2023

Remove

That which is removed, as a dish removed from table to make room for something else.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Remove

The distance or space through which anything is removed; interval; distance; stage; hence, a step or degree in any scale of gradation; specifically, a division in an English public school; as, the boy went up two removes last year.
A freeholder is but one remove from a legislator.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Remove

The act of resetting a horse's shoe.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Remove

Degree of figurative distance or separation;
Just one remove from madness
It imitates at many removes a Shakespearean tragedy
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Remove

Remove something concrete, as by lifting, pushing, taking off, etc. or remove something abstract;
Remove a threat
Remove a wrapper
Remove the dirty dishes from the table
Take the gun from your pocket
This machine withdraws heat from the environment
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Remove

Remove from a position or an office
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Remove

Dispose of;
Get rid of these old shoes!
The company got rid of all the dead wood
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Remove

Cause to leave;
The teacher took the children out of the classroom
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Remove

Shift the position or location of, as for business, legal, educational, or military purposes;
He removed his children to the countryside
Remove the troops to the forest surrounding the city
Remove a case to another court
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Remove

Go away or leave;
He absented himself
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Remove

Kill intentionally and with premeditation;
The mafia boss ordered his enemies murdered
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Remove

Get rid of something abstract;
The death of her mother removed the last obstacle to their marriage
God takes away your sins
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Remove

To move something from its place or position.
Please remove your shoes before entering the house.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 29, 2023

Remove

To eliminate or take away something.
The chef decided to remove nuts from the recipe due to allergies.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 29, 2023

Remove

To dismiss someone from a position or role.
The company had to remove the manager for misconduct.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 29, 2023

Remove

To detach or take off something.
He removed the cover from the car to reveal its new color.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 29, 2023

Repeatedly Asked Queries

Is removing something always permanent?

Not necessarily, as removal can often be temporary or reversible.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 29, 2023

Can "remove" and "delete" be used interchangeably?

No, they have distinct contexts and connotations.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 29, 2023

Does deleting always imply irreversibility?

Generally, yes, especially in digital contexts where it means erasing completely.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 29, 2023

Is "remove" always physical?

No, it can also imply non-physical actions like removing someone from a position.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 29, 2023

Can "delete" be used for physical objects?

Rarely, it's predominantly used for digital or textual content.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 29, 2023

Does "remove" imply complete eradication?

Not always, it often implies relocation or displacement.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 29, 2023

What does it mean to remove someone from a list?

It means taking their name off the list, but not necessarily erasing it completely.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 29, 2023

Is "delete" applicable in non-digital contexts?

It can be used for non-digital texts, like deleting words from a written document.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 29, 2023

Can "delete" be used in physical contexts?

It's uncommon, as "delete" is mainly used for digital data or text.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 29, 2023

Does "delete" mean the same as "erase"?

Yes, in many contexts, especially digital, they are synonymous.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 29, 2023

Is "delete" used in legal contexts?

Yes, like deleting clauses from contracts, it implies permanent removal.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 29, 2023

Can you remove something from a digital device?

Yes, like removing an app, but it doesn't always mean erasing it completely.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 29, 2023

Can "remove" be used in editing texts?

Yes, like removing a sentence, but it doesn't imply erasure like "delete."
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 29, 2023

Is "delete" a stronger action than "remove"?

Generally, yes, as it often implies a more final and irreversible action.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 29, 2023

Can you remove a file from a computer?

Yes, like moving it to a different folder, but not necessarily deleting it.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 29, 2023

Can deleted files always be recovered?

Not always, recovery depends on the method of deletion and data storage.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 29, 2023

Does "delete" imply a traceless removal?

In digital contexts, it often does, suggesting no remaining evidence.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 29, 2023

Is "remove" used in digital contexts?

Yes, but less frequently than "delete," like removing a device from a network.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 29, 2023

Can "remove" mean to make something cease to exist?

In some contexts, like removing a threat, it can imply elimination.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 29, 2023

What does it mean to delete a contact from a phone?

It means to permanently erase their information from your contact list.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 29, 2023

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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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