destroy

verb
de·​stroy | \di-ˈstrȯi, dē-\

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

Their natural habitats have been mostly destroyed; some captive elephants carry diseases that could harm wild populations; and besides, not all elephants get along—even in the jungle. Ashlea Halpern, Condé Nast Traveler, "Is It Ever Okay to Ride Elephants While on Vacation? It’s Complicated...," 18 Oct. 2018 By that point, the temperature inside the freezer had risen to –32 degrees Celsius, effectively destroying everything inside. Kayla Webley Adler, Marie Claire, "When Your Dreams of Motherhood Are Destroyed," 1 Oct. 2018 Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible, progressive condition that destroys a person’s memory and other important mental (and eventually physical) functions. Korin Miller, SELF, "10 Facts About Alzheimer's Disease You Should Know," 28 Sep. 2018 Donald Trump’s contributions to pop culture may have earned him a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2007, but that star has been destroyed — for the second time. Jameelah Nasheed, Teen Vogue, "Bail for the 24-Year-Old Who Destroyed Trump's Walk of Fame Star Was Set at $20,000," 26 July 2018 The old building had been destroyed in the 1906 earthquake and fire. Janie Har, USA TODAY, "London Breed to be sworn in as San Francisco's first black female mayor," 11 July 2018 So far, 34 homes, one business and 21 accessory buildings such as barns and sheds have been destroyed. Lyndsay Winkley, latimes.com, "Number of structures lost in San Diego County fire more than doubles," 9 July 2018 So far, 34 homes, one business and 21 accessory buildings like barns and sheds have been destroyed. Lyndsay Winkley, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Count of homes damaged, destroyed by Alpine fire more than doubles," 8 July 2018 Officials say a fast-moving wildfire near the California-Oregon border has claimed at least one life, and at least a dozen homes have been destroyed. Carter Evans, CBS News, "Millions in the West are dealing with fast-moving wildfires," 6 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

8 Dec 2018

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

: to defeat (someone or something) easily or completely

destroy

verb
de·​stroy | \di-ˈstrȯi \
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

Comments on destroy

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