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I'm writing a simple application which will remove any trace that I was ever at a PC. (Not for nefarious reasons before anyone asks - I do a lot of temporary work at client sites and when I leave, I want an easy way of uninstalling all my applications and software licenses)

Coding is the easy part but what to call it... that has me stumped. Don't laugh, names are important!

I could just go with something boring like "AppCleaner" but I was hoping to find something a little more interesting. It's probably getting into the realms of philosophy but are there any words (in any language) to express the concept of "remove from existence"?

edit the original wording was "never existed" but, as pointed out in the comment, that's not quite the same thing as removing from existence which is what I'm actually after.

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closed as too localized by simchona, kiamlaluno, Jasper Loy, RegDwigнt Nov 28 '11 at 19:30

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I was originally going for never existed but changed the theme to "removed from existence" because it fits my goal better. I'll edit the question – MarcE Nov 28 '11 at 15:36
As I said, I was looking for something more interesting. I could use "Application Remover", which describes perfectly what the thing is doing but that's just boring! – MarcE Nov 28 '11 at 15:55
You could turn the files into unfiles – Nick T Nov 28 '11 at 18:55
While multiple words, Back to the Future and all that it entails may lead you down the path to focusing on going back in time versus remove from existence which is focused on removing what has already existed. Starting Point, Alpha, etc...could be references to going back in time. – Aaron McIver Nov 28 '11 at 19:11
Wow. This question closed between the time I completed my answer and the time I finished logging in. Anyway, my answer is this: What about nullify? transitive verb 1 : to make null; especially : to make legally null and void 2 : to make of no value or consequence This is especially fitting (in my opinion) as you're writing a computer program, where "null" is (usually) an especially important reserved code word. – Ran Biron Nov 28 '11 at 19:32

10 Answers 10

up vote 15 down vote accepted


erase or remove completely (something unwanted or unpleasant) : the communists had expunged references to the Hitler-Stalin pact.

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and the logo would be of a sponge with an X on it... – zzzzBov Nov 28 '11 at 18:08
The word "expunge" is used in law to refer to destroying all legal record of a crime, usually because the crime was committed when the person was under 18 and the idea is that a person shouldn't have a criminal record for his whole life because of one irresponsible thing he did when he was a teenager. – Jay Nov 28 '11 at 18:22
And this new app will be called "Expunge Bob". – GEdgar Nov 28 '11 at 18:27

'Obliterate' could be the word you are looking for. But I don't know if you think its suitable for the name of an app..!! 'Annul' also means the same to some extent. You could modify these words to come up with a suitable name.

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+1 for obliterate. – onomatomaniak Nov 28 '11 at 16:19
First word that came to my thoughts. – WernerCD Nov 28 '11 at 19:29


(v. t.) To reduce to nothing or nonexistence; to destroy the existence of; to cause to cease to be.

(v. t.) To destroy the form or peculiar distinctive properties of, so that the specific thing no longer exists; as, to annihilate a forest by cutting down the trees.

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  1. to rid of whatever is impure or undesirable; cleanse; purify.
  2. to rid, clear, or free (usually followed by of or from ): to purge a political party of disloyal members.
  3. to clear of imputed guilt or ritual uncleanliness.
  4. to clear away or wipe out legally (an offense, accusation, etc.) by atonement or other suitable action.
  5. to remove by cleansing or purifying (often followed by away, off, or out ).
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Eradicate (literally to remove even the roots)?

Or (less accurate but more fun) pulverise, to reduce to dust.

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My favorite from below: 'Eliminar'

English: expunge, eradicate, sanitize, obliterate, delete, erase
Latin: expunge, delere, sanitize, delere, delete, deleo
French: expurger, éradiquer, désinfecter, effacer, supprimer, effacer
German: expunge, zu beseitigen, desinfizieren, auslöschen, löschen, löschen
Spanish: borrar, eliminar, desinfectar, borrar, eliminar, borrar

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"Eliminar" would be perfect if you need your app to seem like it was written by Tolkienian elves. – Beska Oct 9 '13 at 18:15

My background in the cleaning chemical business brings to mind sanitize, disinfect, and sterilize, the three terms which have regulatory definitions. Sanitize is probably the best because its connotation is more "clean" and less "bug free" than the others.

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If you are creating a commodity software product, I suggest you limit yourself to terms which are widely used and understood. I suggest a writing metaphor, because that will be instantly familiar. In that context, the notion of removing from existence or the concept of something which is removed so perfectly that it is as if it had never existed leads to solutions such as undo, erase, and white out.

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"poof" would be a less clinical alternative to the proposed answers.

You simple poof yourself (or your footprints) out of existence.

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High risk of offense! – e100 Nov 28 '11 at 17:20
@e100, Probably less so in the USA (where Slothsberry is located). – Mark Bannister Nov 28 '11 at 17:29
What's the risk of offence here? – 3Doubloons Nov 28 '11 at 18:02
@AlexBrault "Poof" is an insulting word for a gay man in UK slang. – Jadasc Nov 28 '11 at 18:11
I assumed the application would be available to UK English markets. – e100 Feb 7 '12 at 15:23

I think that eradicate or expunge is the correct verb; so Trace Eradicator or Trace Expunger.

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