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

The largest, the Spring Creek Fire, has destroyed more than 130 homes and is 70 percent contained. BostonGlobe.com, "3 arrested in connection with Colorado wildfire," 10 July 2018 Food companies around the world have new ammunition to argue that a merger with Kraft Heinz would only destroy value. Carol Ryan, WSJ, "The Failure of Kraft Heinz and the Future of Big Food," 22 Feb. 2019 Parkland made my community realize that gun violences destroys families and endangers the lives of youth. Alison Caporimo, Seventeen, "11 Teen Gun Violence Survivors and Activists on the Parkland Shooting Anniversary," 14 Feb. 2019 Ferguson Fire is the largest fire in Sierra National Forest history, but small compared to the Mendocino Complex Fire and Carr Fire in other parts of the state, which have so far destroyed 305,489 acres and 178,752 acres, respectively. Katherine Lagrave, Condé Nast Traveler, "Parts of Yosemite National Park Reopen, Slowly," 13 Aug. 2018 Bites from brown recluse spiders can cause severe, skin-destroying lesions, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Char Adams, PEOPLE.com, "Woman Bit by Spider Must Pay to Leave Infested Apartment — As Couple Worries About New Renters," 11 July 2018 The traffickers should face criminal charges and receive jail time for their involvement in such schemes, and law enforcement officers should work to disrupt and destroy the criminal gangs that perform such trafficking. Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica, "Our favorite (and least favorite) tech of 2018," 26 Dec. 2018 And personal homes, purchased after years of saving and sacrifice, may become devalued or destroyed. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Climate change and the coming coastal real estate crash," 16 Oct. 2018 There's about 10 seconds of that towards the end, a ring of fire destroying everything in its path. Hayden Dingman, PCWorld, "This week in games: Battlefield V teases its battle royale mode, Deep Silver acquires TimeSplitters," 17 Aug. 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

17 Mar 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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