Simple Definition of despoil
: to severely damage or ruin (a place)
: to forcefully take what is valuable from (a place)
Examples of despoil
The landscape has been despoiled by industrial development.
<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
Synonym Discussion of despoil
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