de·​spo·​li·​a·​tion di-ˌspō-lē-ˈā-shən How to pronounce despoliation (audio)
: the action or process of despoiling : spoliation

Examples of despoliation in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Landscape exists to register ideas, like dispossession or despoliation, but not feelings. Philip Kennicott, Washington Post, 5 Oct. 2023 Related Christopher Ciccone watched from the Radio City green room, thinking of his father and grandmother, who, like millions of other TV viewers, would see the show at home and be stunned by what appeared to be the on-air despoliation of a bride — by herself. Mary Gabriel, Rolling Stone, 27 Sep. 2023 Millions of investors are participating in the despoliation. Ian Frazier, The New York Review of Books, 19 Jan. 2023 Environmentalists, concerned about the despoliation of nature, have been lobbying for the concrete to be removed and the river rewilded, with new marshes and wetlands to green the city and mitigate flooding. Michael Kimmelman, New York Times, 10 Nov. 2022 The book’s scope is comprehensive, documenting the grandeur and the despoliation of the region’s geography and the lives and spaces of its poorest—and richest—residents. Richard Rothman, Harper's Magazine, 15 Apr. 2021 And yet the saboteurs of Earth First!, the Animal Liberation Front, and the ELF no more launched a mass movement against the despoliation of the earth than did the responsible statesmen of the Sierra Club. Benjamin Kunkel, The New Republic, 26 May 2021 Trump also may have a motive for his environmental policies — enriching timber companies and the oil and gas industry, despoliation of the environment being merely collateral damage. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 25 Nov. 2020 That rings even truer amid the despoliation of the coronavirus. Robert Hackett, Fortune, 3 Apr. 2020

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'despoliation.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Late Latin despoliation-, despoliatio, from despoliare

First Known Use

circa 1657, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of despoliation was circa 1657

Dictionary Entries Near despoliation

Cite this Entry

“Despoliation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


de·​spo·​li·​a·​tion di-ˌspō-lē-ˈā-shən How to pronounce despoliation (audio)
: the action or process of despoiling

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