I have a character delivering a monologue (fortunately not too long), and want to capture the idea that something turns into nothing, using a single word or striking turn of phrase.

"Evaporate" is the closest I got, but it doesn't go far enough and carries with it a reversibility.

"Pass out of existence" and "turn to nothing" are bland but accurate. "Turn to dust" also leaves a residue, and invokes Tyrion's famous threat.

So, I've run dry.

Paradoxically, there are many great ways of saying that nothing turns into something. Of course there are...

Edit I don't believe the exact sentence will be helpful in this instance, but here's some context to back it up.

The character is talking about how the achievement of his goal will make all the crimes committed in it's service irrelevant. But it's not so much irrelevance, instead the notion that they will never have happened at all.

The sentence: "When we achieve our goal, all this will [insert phrase here].

Another candidate is, "be undone". That's okay, but implies the crimes and their effects being rectified, not simply ceasing to have happened.

Edit 2 A note about the audience: The book is in the action/adventure genre and targeted at adult male readers.

The character is a well-educated male in his thirties, and so is the character bring addressed.

  • 1
    Can you add the exact phrase your character will say? Context is relevant.
    – user 66974
    Nov 1, 2022 at 17:35
  • 1
    Yes, it helps to know WHAT turns into nothing. Please include your sentence.
    – fev
    Nov 1, 2022 at 17:38
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    It's also relevant to tell us about the audience. If it's important then perhaps worth spending a few more words on so your audience have time to assimilate the issue.
    – Peter Fox
    Nov 1, 2022 at 17:44
  • @user66974 I've made the edit you requested, but I don't the sentence in all iets simplicity wil be helpful. I therefore added a bit more context.
    – user333815
    Nov 1, 2022 at 18:01
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    "they will never have happened at all." As in time-travel? Or do you mean they won't be crimes because, having won, they will absolve themselves of their own sins?
    – Yorik
    Nov 1, 2022 at 21:20

5 Answers 5



Crimes that "disappear" are expunged.

Meaning sealed or destroyed, making the records nonexistent or unavailable to the general public (Wikipedia).

To “expunge” is to “erase or remove completely.” In law, “expungement” is the process by which a record of criminal conviction is destroyed or sealed from state or federal record. An expungement order directs the court to treat the criminal conviction as if it had never occurred, essentially removing it from a defendant’s criminal record as well as, ideally, the public record.

Quoted definition from OL&G, presumably, or they are the same in any case.


annihilate : to cause to cease to exist : to do away with entirely so that nothing remains (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/annihilate).

From Middle French annihilation, from Latin ad (“to”) + nihil (“nothing”) (https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/annihilation).


"When we achieve our goal, all this will cease to exist.”


"I have a character delivering a monologue (fortunately not too long), and want to capture the idea that something turns into nothing, using a single word or striking turn of phrase."

When we achieve our goal, all this will lift like the fog.




2 : to cease to be

The word was more popular in the past, which may lend to a (somewhat false) feeling of "well-educated", maybe if it's uttered by the character, and especially if the "well-educated" implies the character tends toward being a pendant.

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