Delete APIedit

The delete API allows to delete a typed JSON document from a specific index based on its id. The following example deletes the JSON document from an index called twitter, under a type called _doc, with id 1:

DELETE /twitter/_doc/1

The result of the above delete operation is:

    "_shards" : {
        "total" : 2,
        "failed" : 0,
        "successful" : 2
    "_index" : "twitter",
    "_type" : "_doc",
    "_id" : "1",
    "_version" : 2,
    "_primary_term": 1,
    "_seq_no": 5,
    "result": "deleted"

Optimistic concurrency controledit

Delete operations can be made conditional and only be performed if the last modification to the document was assigned the sequence number and primary term specified by the if_seq_no and if_primary_term parameters. If a mismatch is detected, the operation will result in a VersionConflictException and a status code of 409. See Optimistic concurrency control for more details.


Each document indexed is versioned. When deleting a document, the version can be specified to make sure the relevant document we are trying to delete is actually being deleted and it has not changed in the meantime. Every write operation executed on a document, deletes included, causes its version to be incremented. The version number of a deleted document remains available for a short time after deletion to allow for control of concurrent operations. The length of time for which a deleted document’s version remains available is determined by the index.gc_deletes index setting and defaults to 60 seconds.


When indexing using the ability to control the routing, in order to delete a document, the routing value should also be provided. For example:

DELETE /twitter/_doc/1?routing=kimchy

The above will delete a tweet with id 1, but will be routed based on the user. Note that issuing a delete without the correct routing will cause the document to not be deleted.

When the _routing mapping is set as required and no routing value is specified, the delete API will throw a RoutingMissingException and reject the request.

Automatic index creationedit

If an external versioning variant is used, the delete operation automatically creates an index if it has not been created before (check out the create index API for manually creating an index), and also automatically creates a dynamic type mapping for the specific type if it has not been created before (check out the put mapping API for manually creating type mapping).


The delete operation gets hashed into a specific shard id. It then gets redirected into the primary shard within that id group, and replicated (if needed) to shard replicas within that id group.

Wait For Active Shardsedit

When making delete requests, you can set the wait_for_active_shards parameter to require a minimum number of shard copies to be active before starting to process the delete request. See here for further details and a usage example.


Control when the changes made by this request are visible to search. See ?refresh.


The primary shard assigned to perform the delete operation might not be available when the delete operation is executed. Some reasons for this might be that the primary shard is currently recovering from a store or undergoing relocation. By default, the delete operation will wait on the primary shard to become available for up to 1 minute before failing and responding with an error. The timeout parameter can be used to explicitly specify how long it waits. Here is an example of setting it to 5 minutes:

DELETE /twitter/_doc/1?timeout=5m