destroy

verb de·stroy \ di-ˈstrȯi , dē- \
Updated on: 9 Dec 2017

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

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.

Recent Examples of destroy from the Web

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.

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


DESTROY Defined for English Language Learners

destroy

verb

Definition of destroy for English Language Learners

  • : 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


DESTROY Defined for Kids

destroy

verb de·stroy \ di-ˈstrȯi \

Definition of destroy for Students

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


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