verb \di-ˈspi(-ə)l\

: to severely damage or ruin (a place)

: to forcefully take what is valuable from (a place)

Full Definition of DESPOIL

transitive verb
:  to strip of belongings, possessions, or value :  pillage
de·spoil·er noun
de·spoil·ment \-mənt\ noun

Examples of DESPOIL

  1. The landscape has been despoiled by industrial development.
  2. <the burglars despoiled the art museum in search of treasures they thought they could sell to a fence>

Origin of DESPOIL

Middle English despoylen, from Anglo-French despoiller, from Latin despoliare, from de- + spoliare to strip, rob — more at spoil
First Known Use: 14th century

Related to DESPOIL


Next Word in the Dictionary: despoliation
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