despoil

verb
de·​spoil | \ di-ˈspȯi(-ə)l How to pronounce despoil (audio) \
despoiled; despoiling; despoils

Definition of despoil

transitive verb

: to strip of belongings, possessions, or value : pillage

Other Words from despoil

despoiler noun
despoilment \ di-​ˈspȯi(-​ə)l-​mənt How to pronounce despoil (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for despoil

ravage, devastate, waste, sack, pillage, despoil mean to lay waste by plundering or destroying. ravage implies violent often cumulative depredation and destruction. a hurricane ravaged the coast devastate implies the complete ruin and desolation of a wide area. an earthquake devastated the city waste may imply producing the same result by a slow process rather than sudden and violent action. years of drought had wasted the area sack implies carrying off all valuable possessions from a place. barbarians sacked ancient Rome pillage implies ruthless plundering at will but without the completeness suggested by sack. settlements pillaged by Vikings despoil applies to looting or robbing without suggesting accompanying destruction. the Nazis despoiled the art museums

Examples of despoil in a Sentence

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
Recent Examples on the Web Plastics will continue to despoil the oceans even if all plastic production halts tomorrow. Ed Yong, The Atlantic, 13 June 2022 Even a comparative smidgen of methane can despoil the climate. Robinson Meyer, The Atlantic, 28 Oct. 2021 The 2008 financial crisis exposed the economic folly and moral bankruptcy of a system that relied on bribing executives with stock options to squeeze workers, bamboozle customers, despoil the environment and dodge taxes. Washington Post, 5 Oct. 2020 Farm Aid, like other companies, has rejected non-organic cotton that requires extensive use of synthetic fertilizers, soil additives, defoliants and other chemicals that despoil the land. Billboard, 21 Sep. 2020 Ms Ellmann mourns ecosystems despoiled by modern humankind. The Economist, 24 Oct. 2019 Here in a primitive wilderness despoiled by European invaders, where black men and women are rounded up, murdered and hanged from trees, a much farther-reaching tragedy comes into startling focus. San Diego Union-Tribune, 15 Aug. 2019 Here in a primitive wilderness despoiled by European invaders, where black men and women are rounded up, murdered and hanged from trees, a much farther-reaching tragedy comes into startling focus. San Diego Union-Tribune, 15 Aug. 2019 Here in a primitive wilderness despoiled by European invaders, where black men and women are rounded up, murdered and hanged from trees, a much farther-reaching tragedy comes into startling focus. San Diego Union-Tribune, 15 Aug. 2019 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'despoil.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of despoil

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for despoil

Middle English despoylen, from Anglo-French despoiller, from Latin despoliare, from de- + spoliare to strip, rob — more at spoil entry 1

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Time Traveler for despoil

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The first known use of despoil was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near despoil

Des Plaines

despoil

despoliation

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Statistics for despoil

Last Updated

22 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Despoil.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/despoil. Accessed 15 Aug. 2022.

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Nglish: Translation of despoil for Spanish Speakers

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