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

American sailors on the destroyers Cushing and Laffey looked up to find Adm. Abe’s flagship, the battleship Heiei, sailing directly at them. Gary Kamiya, San Francisco Chronicle, "How SF’s namesake ship survived a World War II ‘suicide’ mission," 9 June 2018 But maybe the best way to reconcile Naomi Osaka, mild-mannered gamer and meme lover, with Naomi Osaka, the WTA’s destroyer of worlds, is her Instagram. Kevin Nguyen, GQ, "Naomi Osaka Is the Coolest Thing in Tennis," 24 May 2018 The October 2000 attack killed 17 U.S. sailors when an explosive-laden boat rammed into the U.S. Navy destroyer in Aden harbor. NBC News, "U.S. transfers Guantanamo detainee to his native Saudi Arabia," 3 May 2018 Shortly after, the shipyard produced about 40 Navy destroyers and employed 6,000 people during the heyday of production during World War II, according to the Los Angeles Conservancy. Samantha Masunaga,, "SpaceX gets approval to develop its BFR rocket and spaceship at Port of Los Angeles," 19 Apr. 2018 From 2015 to 2016, according to Navy statistics, the number of days 7th Fleet cruisers and destroyers spent underway soared by 40 percent, from 116 days at sea to 162 days. Oyin Falana, USA TODAY, "Mission creep a way of life in Western Pacific as sailors struggle with constant demands," 29 June 2018 This may seem like an ironic gift for a man who newspaper publishers once railed against as the destroyer of classified ads, a high-margin pillar in broadsheet and tabloid profits. Glenn Fleishman, Fortune, "Craigslist Founder Donates $20 Million To Endow Journalism Program," 11 June 2018 On Sunday, China denounced an American freedom of navigation operation last week that saw the destroyer Higgins and cruiser Antietam sail within 12 nautical miles of the Paracels. Carl Prine,, "Mattis shows that former enemy is a warming friend," 31 May 2018 Mary Lou Taylor: Its job was to … refuel the aircraft carriers and the destroyers. Jonathan Leach, CBS News, "NCIS agents vow to solve "unsolvable" cold case and restore a sailor's honor," 29 May 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

16 Sep 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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the setting in which something occurs

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