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

He is accused of helping orchestrate an attack in 2000 on a United States Navy destroyer, the Cole, in the harbor of the Yemeni port of Aden, which killed 17 sailors, and an attack on a French oil tanker, the Limburg, in 2002. Alan Cowell, New York Times, "Lithuania and Romania Complicit in C.I.A. Prisons, European Court Says," 31 May 2018 Sailors from the destroyer USS Jason Dunham boarded the ship and made the seizure. Samuel Chamberlain, Fox News, "US Navy seizes cache of small arms in Gulf of Aden, official says," 29 Aug. 2018 There is a doctor aboard one of the destroyers and hospital corpsmen aboard both., "June 9, 1967: Israeli attack hits U.S. Ship," 9 June 2018 Days after Pearl Harbor, Marine defenders of Wake Island staged a vigorous defense of the South Pacific island that included sinking the Japanese destroyers Kisaragi and Hayate. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The U.S. Marines Want the Ability to Sink Ships," 17 Jan. 2019 In 1943, behavioral scientist B.F. Skinner demonstrated new guidance technology to track simulated Japanese destroyers. Andy Kessler, WSJ, "Google’s Anti-Pentagon Decision Will Kill More People," 29 July 2018 Today, five of the Navy’s Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruisers and 33 Arleigh Burke–class guided missile destroyers are capable of detecting and shooting down ballistic missiles with SM-3 Block IIA interceptors. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "'Star Wars' Lite? We Explain Trump's Missile Defense Strategy," 17 Jan. 2019 The legacy of a Korean War hero from Massachusetts will live on when the Navy commissions a destroyer ship named for him this winter, officials said Tuesday. Travis Andersen,, "Ship named after Korean War hero Thomas Hudner will be commissioned in Boston," 13 June 2018 Images on the website detail damage to the carrier’s hull, which may have been from the guns of the destroyers Mustin and Anderson. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Explorers Discover the Wreck of the Aircraft Carrier USS Hornet, Sunk in World War II," 12 Feb. 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

13 May 2019

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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 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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