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 lawsuit is seeking financial damages and asking authorities to destroy bootlegged merchandise. Kirk Mitchell, The Denver Post, "New Kids on the Block merchandiser sues bootleggers ahead of Friday concert in Denver," 4 June 2019 The largest portion of the package earmarks $1.5 billion for the rebuilding of Tyndall Air Force Base, which was essentially destroyed by Hurricane Michael this past October. orlandosentinel.com, "Florida to get a big chunk of federal dollars for hurricane relief. Here’s how it breaks down," 4 June 2019 Eventually, Daenerys begins to destroy the Red Keep, the castle built by her ancestors to house the ruler of the Seven Kingdoms. Carrie Wittmer, Harper's BAZAAR, "Yes, the Iron Throne Is Still Standing on Game of Thrones," 16 May 2019 The Marines are trained, organized, and equipped to move to danger spots—under enemy fire if necessary—and maneuver to destroy the enemy. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Just a CH-53 Heavy Chopper Lifting a 12-Ton Armored Vehicle," 30 Apr. 2019 The oil industry also polluted the waters and altered the ecosystem, and all but destroyed the oyster population. Stellene Volandes, Town & Country, "A Rare Natural Pearl That Once Belonged to a Spanish Princess Is For Sale," 14 May 2019 Reputations sink; work is lost, destroyed or filed away. Willard Spiegelman, WSJ, "A Prophetic Paean to Progress," 1 Mar. 2019 As a last resort, archaeologists can excavate the site quickly, to ensure that the burial is scientifically documented and that human remains and important artifacts aren’t lost or destroyed. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Satellites watch over the graves of ancient steppe nomads," 26 Dec. 2018 Thankfully, the mansion was only partially damaged, with a production structure, back patio, and outdoor structures being destroyed—and no one was in the mansion at the time. Sienna Fantozzi, House Beautiful, "Everything You Need To Know About The Bachelor Mansion," 14 Nov. 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

9 Jun 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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