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
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.