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 White mobs, many of them deputized and armed by local officials, managed to destroy what is estimated to be the equivalent today of more than $200 million in property value from local Black home and business owners. Kevin Garnett, Time, 1 June 2021 Appelbaum worries that Hahnemann might become a model, encouraging investors to destroy hospitals that occupy valuable land. Chris Pomorski, The New Yorker, 31 May 2021 Angry, gun-toting white mobs had set out under the cover of nightfall in her hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma, to kill Black people and destroy Black America’s economic mecca. NBC News, 31 May 2021 Despite being seriously wounded in the chest, Hawkins refused medical treatment, managing to destroy an additional three pillboxes before a Japanese sniper bullet hit him in the shoulder severing his artery. Eleanor Watson, CBS News, 31 May 2021 The group pushed for an amendment to clarify language that would include alcohol manufacturers around the state, a move wholesalers said would destroy the state’s three tier system by allowing producers to sell directly to consumers. al, 29 May 2021 Sure, the criminals promise to destroy the data if demands are met... Lee Mathews, Forbes, 29 May 2021 Vallow previously pleaded not guilty in September to two felony counts of conspiracy to destroy, alter, or conceal evidence following the discovery of the remains on Daybell's property. Sarah Midkiff, refinery29.com, 27 May 2021 Lori Daybell was previously charged with two felony counts of conspiracy to destroy, alter or conceal evidence following the discovery of the remains on her husband's property. Marlene Lenthang, ABC News, 26 May 2021

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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Learn More about destroy

Time Traveler for destroy

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for destroy

Last Updated

5 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Destroy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/destroy. Accessed 13 Jun. 2021.

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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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