destroy

verb
de·​stroy | \ di-ˈstrȯi How to pronounce destroy (audio) , dē-\
destroyed; destroying; destroys

Definition of destroy

transitive verb

1 : to ruin the structure, organic existence, or condition of destroyed the files also : to ruin as if by tearing to shreds their reputation was destroyed a disease that destroys the body's ability to fight off illness destroyed any hope of a return to past crackdowns … — George Brock
2a : to put out of existence : kill destroy an injured horse
b : neutralize the moon destroys the light of the stars
c : annihilate, vanquish armies had been crippled but not destroyed— W. L. Shirer

intransitive verb

: to cause ruin or destruction it is proverbially easier to destroy than to construct— T. S. Eliot

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Examples of destroy in a Sentence

Eventually our problems with money destroyed our marriage. All the files were deliberately destroyed. The disease destroys the body's ability to fight off illness. The bomb blast destroyed the village. The dog had to be destroyed since its owner could not prevent it from attacking people.
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Recent Examples on the Web

No buildings were damaged or destroyed, though the blaze did force some people to flee their homes and sparked panic in the area. James Queally, Glendale News-Press, "Two men accused of setting blaze at Eagle Rock homeless encampment that grew into brush fire," 4 Sep. 2019 That same week there were a 13 different wildfires blazing in the Southland, putting a strain on firefighting resources, destroying properties and frazzling nerves from San Diego County to Santa Barbara County. Carol Cormaci, La Cañada Valley Sun, "La Cañada History: Cots set up at Oak Grove for weary firefighters in September 1979," 2 Sep. 2019 The Sperry Chalet, a stone lodge accessible only to those willing to hike up a steep mountain, was nearly destroyed in a wildfire in 2017. Justin Franz, The Know, "Have Glacier National Park to yourself," 1 Sep. 2019 An intense, visible, broad-spectrum light that heats and destroys brown spots, melasma, broken capillaries, and sun spots. Megan Gustashaw, Glamour, "I Tried an IPL Treatment to Get Rid of My Sun Spots," 31 Aug. 2019 Please note that boarding up your windows may not prevent your windows from breaking or your home from getting damaged or destroyed, particularly in the face of strong hurricanes. Hadley Keller, House Beautiful, "How to Protect Your Windows Before Hurricane Dorian Makes Landfall," 30 Aug. 2019 However, if the bacteria have destroyed too much tissue, doctors may need to remove the dead tissue to prevent the spread of the infection, states the CDC. Christina Oehler, Health.com, "Can You Get Flesh Eating Bacteria From a Pool?," 27 Aug. 2019 Critical evidence might be destroyed by the suspect or compromised, or later suppressed by a judge because of procedural violations traceable to the vigilantes. Bruce Vielmetti, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "State warning: Don't take part in vigilante actions against suspected online child predators," 26 Aug. 2019 That latter activity destroys the already precarious friendship. Ariana Romero, refinery29.com, "The Timeline You Need To Understand 13 Reasons Why Season 3," 24 Aug. 2019

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

13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for destroy

Middle English, from Anglo-French destroy-, destrui-, stem of destrure, from Vulgar Latin *destrugere, alteration of Latin destruere, from de- + struere to build — more at structure

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Statistics for destroy

Last Updated

13 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for destroy

The first known use of destroy was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for destroy

destroy

verb

English Language Learners Definition of destroy

: to cause (something) to end or no longer exist : to cause the destruction of (something) : to damage (something) so badly that it cannot be repaired
: to kill (an animal) especially because it is sick, injured, or dangerous
informal : to defeat (someone or something) easily or completely

destroy

verb
de·​stroy | \ di-ˈstrȯi How to pronounce destroy (audio) \
destroyed; destroying

Kids Definition of destroy

1 : to put an end to : do away with destroy a building destroy a dream
2 : kill entry 1 sense 1 Officials destroyed the diseased animals.

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More from Merriam-Webster on destroy

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with destroy

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for destroy

Spanish Central: Translation of destroy

Nglish: Translation of destroy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of destroy for Arabic Speakers

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