Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

destroy

play
verb de·stroy \di-ˈstrȯi, dē-\

Simple Definition of destroy

  • : to cause (something) to end or no longer exist : to cause the destruction of (something) : to damage (something) so badly that it cannot be repaired

  • : to kill (an animal) especially because it is sick, injured, or dangerous

  • : to defeat (someone or something) easily or completely

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of destroy

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to ruin the structure, organic existence, or condition of <destroyed the files>; also :  to ruin as if by tearing to shreds <their reputation was destroyed>

  3. 2 a :  to put out of existence :  kill <destroy an injured horse> b :  neutralize <the moon destroys the light of the stars> c :  annihilate, vanquish <armies had been crippled but not destroyed — W. L. Shirer>

  4. intransitive verb
  5. :  to cause destruction

Examples of destroy in a sentence

  1. Eventually our problems with money destroyed our marriage.

  2. All the files were deliberately destroyed.

  3. The disease destroys the body's ability to fight off illness.

  4. The bomb blast destroyed the village.

  5. The dog had to be destroyed since its owner could not prevent it from attacking people.



Origin and Etymology of destroy

Middle English, from Anglo-French destroy-, destrui-, stem of destrure, from Vulgar Latin *destrugere, alteration of Latin destruere, from de- + struere to build — more at structure


First Known Use: 13th century


DESTROY Defined for Kids

destroy

play
verb de·stroy \di-ˈstrȯi\

Definition of destroy for Students

destroyed

destroying

  1. 1 :  to put an end to :  do away with <destroy a building> <destroy a dream>

  2. 2 :  1kill 1 <Officials destroyed the diseased animals.>





Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up destroy? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

different from the usual or normal

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

alphabet-pasta-spelling-help

Which is the correct spelling?

acommadate acommodate accommodate accomodate
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ