de·​stroy·​er | \di-ˈstrȯi(-ə)r, 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

Every United States president from Washington forward has been called Hanadagáyas — destroyer of villages. New York Times, "A Story of Survival Revived by the Cicadas’ Loud (and Crunchy) Return," 22 June 2018 So too is Yamato, a warship so massive that each of its turrets weigh as much as a destroyer. Tom Nagorski, WSJ, "‘Battleship Yamato’ Review: Big Guns, Outgunned," 10 May 2018 Enemies of the United States will soon have to face a new devastating missile in the nation’s arsenal - a destroyer of enemy warships. Allison Barrie, Fox News, "Meet the US military's warship killer: These new missiles will sink enemy ships," 19 Apr. 2018 Instead, what's more likely is that machine intelligence will work alongside human intelligence, working more as helpful assistant than destroyer of the human race. Jake Swearingen, Popular Mechanics, "Why Deep Blue Beating Garry Kasparov Wasn't the Beginning of the End of the Human Race," 7 Mar. 2016 Three more American cruisers and destroyers are deployed in the Middle East. Julian E. Barnes, WSJ, "Coordination on Syria Strikes Belies Simmering Tensions," 14 Apr. 2018 On May 8, Wade, 49, turns over the entire program to Rear Adm. David Welch, the former commander of the destroyer Chung-Hoon and the Surface Warfare Officers School Command in Rhode Island. Carl Prine,, "Navy surface warfare 'Top Gun' boss exits San Diego," 27 Apr. 2018 Any potential strike against Syria could be carried out by extensive US and UK military assets already in the region, including two US Navy destroyers armed with Tomahawk cruise missiles. Kevin Liptak, CNN, "Britain's May calls Cabinet meeting as UK and US edge closer to Syria strikes," 12 Apr. 2018 That is why the Pentagon is looking at the same sort of retaliation used last year when two Navy destroyers unleashed a fusillade of 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at Al Shayrat airfield that was believed to have been used to launch chemical attacks. Peter Baker, Helene Cooper And Thomas Gibbons-neff, New York Times, "Trump Weighs More Robust Military Strike Against Syria," 10 Apr. 2018

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

11 Nov 2018

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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 \

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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Comments on destroyer

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to clear from alleged fault or guilt

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