destroy

verb
de·​stroy | \ di-ˈstrȯi How to pronounce destroy (audio) , dē-\
destroyed; destroying; destroys

Definition of destroy

transitive verb

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 a disease that destroys the body's ability to fight off illness destroyed any hope of a return to past crackdowns … — George Brock
2a : 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

intransitive verb

: to cause ruin or destruction it is proverbially easier to destroy than to construct— T. S. Eliot

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Examples of destroy in a Sentence

Eventually our problems with money destroyed our marriage. All the files were deliberately destroyed. The disease destroys the body's ability to fight off illness. The bomb blast destroyed the village. The dog had to be destroyed since its owner could not prevent it from attacking people.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Per BuzzFeed, Dee Dee claimed that their home in Louisiana had been hit by Hurricane Katrina, and their apartment destroyed. Emma Dibdin, Harper's BAZAAR, "A Complete Timeline of Dee Dee Blanchard's Murder and Gypsy Blanchard's Trial," 3 Apr. 2019 Alzheimer’s is a progressive brain disorder that happens in phases, slowly destroying a person’s memory, cognitive functions, and eventually many physical abilities as well. Korin Miller, SELF, "Are There Early Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease to Watch For?," 28 Nov. 2018 If even a horrible story can’t destroy a game that’s otherwise good, what does that say about the value of storytelling in games? Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "Observations and lessons from two decades of writing about video games," 25 Nov. 2018 Wildfires have been destroying property and acreage in the state since November 8, when three destructive fires broke out. Krystin Arneson, Glamour, "Queen Elizabeth Sent a Message of Support for Meghan Markle's Home State of California," 17 Nov. 2018 Other countries’ trade barriers and tariffs have been destroying their businesses. David Jackson, USA TODAY, "Even at NATO summit, President Trump presses trade complaints about Europe," 11 July 2018 Footage from the scene as police destroyed the site garnered national attention. Aubrey Nagle, Philly.com, "ICE protester sues Philly police, young Pa. farmers shake up industry | Morning Newsletter," 11 July 2018 Officials are most concerned about the 60,000 homes still covered with tarps after Hurricane Maria destroyed their roofs, Rivera Marín said. Alex Harris And Kyra Gurney, miamiherald, "21,000 homes, businesses without power as Hurricane Beryl's remains sweep Puerto Rico," 9 July 2018 With the electrical grid destroyed, the entire island was in survival mode, focused on clearing debris and securing food and clean water. Martha Bayne, Chicago Reader, "Arts / Performing Arts / Visual Art / Theater Y No Había Luz brings the voices of post-Maria Puerto Rico to Chicago," 9 July 2018

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

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First Known Use of destroy

13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for 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

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Statistics for destroy

Last Updated

12 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for destroy

The first known use of destroy was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for destroy

destroy

verb

English Language Learners 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
informal : to defeat (someone or something) easily or completely

destroy

verb
de·​stroy | \ di-ˈstrȯi How to pronounce destroy (audio) \
destroyed; destroying

Kids Definition of destroy

1 : to put an end to : do away with destroy a building destroy a dream
2 : kill entry 1 sense 1 Officials destroyed the diseased animals.

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More from Merriam-Webster on destroy

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with destroy

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for destroy

Spanish Central: Translation of destroy

Nglish: Translation of destroy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of destroy for Arabic Speakers

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