de·​stroy·​er | \ di-ˈstrȯi(-ə)r How to pronounce destroyer (audio) , dē-\

Definition of destroyer

1 : one that destroys
2 : a small fast warship used especially to support larger vessels and usually armed with guns, depth charges, torpedoes, and often guided missiles

Examples of destroyer in a Sentence

The pamphlet describes alcohol as a destroyer of families.

Recent Examples on the Web

The shirt was made by the veterans groups VoteVets and Rags of Honor and features an image of the USS John S. McCain, a destroyer currently being used by the U.S. Navy. Brieanna J. Frank, azcentral, "Meghan McCain dons 'Big Bad John McCain' shirt as veterans troll Trump's July 4 parade," 4 July 2019 Take care to eliminate or reduce moisture in and around your home to help prevent damage from these silent destroyers. Doreen Christensen,, "Termite tips: How to identify, kill and prevent the voracious pests," 10 June 2019 The Zumwalt destroyer program has been an expensive mess. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "After Only 3 Years in Service, the USS Zumwalt’s Mission Is Changing," 17 May 2019 Some concluding context: Last week a Chinese destroyer hotdogging an American warship nearly caused a collision in the South China Sea. Jon Talton, The Seattle Times, "Beijing’s ‘Trojan chips’ present a risk to more than corporations," 9 Oct. 2018 Some lawmakers were infuriated after U.S. Navy personnel, after a request from the White House, took steps to conceal a U.S. destroyer named for John McCain during Trump’s visit to a naval base in Japan last month. David S. Cloud,, "Patrick Shanahan withdraws his candidacy to be Defense secretary, citing domestic violence incidents," 18 June 2019 The USS Gonzalez, a destroyer that is part of the Lincoln strike group, is operating in the Gulf. Washington Post, "US carrier in Persian Gulf region sends clear signal to Iran," 9 June 2019 Paul Carell described its accuracy: A field gun from one strongpoint fired at a destroyer. Time, "Inside General Eisenhower’s Sleepless Night Ahead of the D-Day Invasion," 6 June 2019 Shopping center owners have long blasted Inc. as a destroyer of their business. Esther Fung, WSJ, "Amazon, Long Seen as a Threat to Malls, Is Now a Hot Tenant," 5 Mar. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'destroyer.' 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 destroyer

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for destroyer

Last Updated

8 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for destroyer

The first known use of destroyer was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for destroyer



English Language Learners Definition of destroyer

: a small and fast military ship that protects bigger ships
: something that causes the destruction of something


de·​stroy·​er | \ di-ˈstrȯi-ər How to pronounce destroyer (audio) \

Kids Definition of destroyer

1 : someone or something that ruins or ends something
2 : a small fast warship armed with guns, torpedoes, and sometimes missiles

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More from Merriam-Webster on destroyer

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with destroyer

Spanish Central: Translation of destroyer

Nglish: Translation of destroyer for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of destroyer for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about destroyer

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to complain fretfully

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