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 Other parts of the celebration will continue, including a wreath laying in Annapolis on Saturday and a visit by a French destroyer to Baltimore Harbor on Monday. Jennifer Hansler, CNN, 16 Sep. 2021 Russian pro-Kremlin online media outlet Life reported military sources saying Russia could use electronic warfare to disable a U.S. destroyer taking part in the Sea Breeze exercise — such as the USS Ross — and take it prisoner. Washington Post, 2 July 2021 Alex Cornell du Houx, 38, two years ago aboard a U.S. Navy destroyer patrolling the Persian Gulf. USA Today, 30 Sep. 2021 The USS Benfold, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, sailed within 12 miles of Mischief Reef, a part of the Spratly Islands where the Chinese have built military facilities. Dominic Rech, CNN, 9 Sep. 2021 Al-Qaeda was also responsible for the October 2000 attack on the USS Cole, a Navy destroyer that was in port in Aden, Yemen. Washington Post, 27 Aug. 2021 The captain of the USS Ross, a U.S. Navy destroyer that took part in the drills, said the exercise was designed to improve how the equipment and personnel of the participating nations operate together. Dmytro Vlasov, Star Tribune, 10 July 2021 Liaoning turned south after breaking into the Philippine Sea, an American destroyer tagging along the whole way. David Axe, Forbes, 15 June 2021 An Australian destroyer pulled into San Diego Bay last weekend with two dead fin whales lodged against the ship’s hull. Los Angeles Times, 13 May 2021

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

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Dictionary Entries Near destroyer



destroyer escort

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Statistics for destroyer

Last Updated

16 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Destroyer.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Oct. 2021.

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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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