I want to say that I make something "expire".

The closest I can think of is "invalidate", but I would like to use a variation of this specific word.

Is there any way to express an active tense of this verb?

Context: a piece of information has expired and I mark it "obsolete" or "deprecated". What have I done to that piece of information? I have _____ it.

  • Could you say more about the context? What are you invalidating? A law, a rule, a piece of code?
    – JJJ
    Commented Mar 19, 2018 at 12:16
  • 1
    This seems redolent of Bluebottle's "I've been deaded!" I believe the answer is no. Commented Mar 19, 2018 at 12:30
  • 1
    Would the OP kindly add their own research to the question, including a more specific sample sentence?
    – lbf
    Commented Mar 19, 2018 at 13:22
  • 4
    Something 'expires' when it reaches the end of its lifetime, whatever the nature of that 'life' may be. We speak of life being 'terminated' when medical machinery is switched off so 'terminate' would seem to be the active form of expire.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Mar 19, 2018 at 14:22
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    The title of this question does not capture its content. The sentence 'X has expired' is, grammatically, in the active voice. What the OP is seeking is a transitive verb that takes as its object, what would be the subject of expire.
    – jsw29
    Commented Nov 15, 2018 at 23:41

4 Answers 4


From the Latin verb spirare we get respiration which is the entire process of air management, inspiration which is to breathe air in and expiration which is to breathe air out, which the OED tells me is transitive.

What is breathed out is air.

This process is involuntary in humans. We cannot stop it directly, though children sometimes attempt it as part of the tantrum pattern of the early years. They go pink and then breathe in.

The OED further says that the intransitive use is obsolete :

1729 R. Savage Wanderer i. 234 Thro' the bor'd rock above, the smoke expires.

There is a further transitive use listed :

II. To breathe one's last breath, die.

I would suggest that this is, also, an involuntary act. One cannot kill oneself, directly, by stopping breathing. One cannot determine to 'breathe one's last'. It isn't up to me when I wish to 'expire'.

I may wish to hurry the process by jumping from a height. (Not that I am going to do that, I have no desire to do so.) But I cannot stop breathing just because I wish to. It is an involuntary process governed by the brain stem functions, not a cognitive process involving the frontal lobes.

I believe the misunderstanding, and hence the slight complication of wording came about by the translation of αφηκεν apheken from aphieme, Strong 863 in Matthew 27:50, and similar places in the bible.

The KJV says 'gave up the Ghost' (meaning either spirit - or Spirit, by interpretation). Because Jesus did this, does not mean that I can do it.

It would seem this may have been the reason for certain wording being used - in previous generations - which is now obsolete.

I believe that death is not an active matter, when it arrives. Not unless one deliberately commits suicide. Therefore the word 'expire' in this sense does not have an 'active' counterpart, in this meaning. If I cannot, deliberately, 'expire myself' than I certainly cannot do it to someone else.

The other uses listed in the OED relate to phases expiring, time expiring, rights and titles expiring : are all involuntary matters save that when a space of time has been agreed, then - when it ceases - it can be said to have expired.

But one does not (and can not) 'expire' time. Time takes time to come to an end. It cannot be hurried.

So the only active verb I can suggest as a counterpart to 'expire' is 'terminate'

If this were applied to a human, it would be an act of murder, of course. Or, in the special instance of switching off hospital equipment, it would be an act agreed upon by authorities : an admission that life had, actually, ceased and the body was being kept artificially supported by mechanical means.

It is also the verb used on occasions when a foetus in the womb is deliberately 'terminated'.


a. To bring to an end, put an end to, cause to cease.



You could say phase out, however, it has a connotation for a gradual process, rather than being deprecated in an instant:

"to discontinue or withdraw gradually"1

Example sentence:

"‘The UK representatives said that although the UK development program is now focused on the provision of high quality technical assistance, it would be phased out gradually over time as local capacity increases.’"2

In your case:

I am phasing something out.

Examples of phaseout of the in literature using an N-gram (click to change search terms)


Would revoke fit in the context you have in mind? Or annul?


you can't expire something it is a completely passive word. Imagine asking how you could "make somebody die of old age"!

verb 1. (of a document, authorization, or agreement) come to the end of the period of validity. "his driving licence expired" synonyms: run out, become invalid, become void, be no longer valid, lapse, cease, become

it just happens you could replace it, invalidate it, deprecate it etc.

1.1 be deprecated (chiefly of a software feature) be usable but regarded as obsolete and best avoided, typically because it has been superseded. ‘this feature is deprecated and will be removed in later versions’ ‘avoid the deprecated element that causes text to flash on and off’

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