Ablation: Removal or excision. Ablation is usually carried out surgically. For example, surgical removal of the thyroid gland (a total thyroidectomy) is ablation of the thyroid. The word ablation comes from the Latin ablatum meaning to carry away.

Historically, the word ablation once had mainly a general meaning so that in 1671 the ablation (removal) of a disease was a matter for consideration. But by 1846 "ablation" had taken on a specifically surgical edge and today it applies principally to the surgical removal of any part of the body.