de·struc·tive | \di-ˈstrək-tiv \

Definition of destructive 

1 : causing destruction : ruinous destructive storm

2 : designed or tending to hurt or destroy destructive criticism

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Other Words from destructive

destructively adverb
destructiveness noun

Examples of destructive in a Sentence

It was one of the most destructive storms in recent memory. She argued that the law was destructive of personal liberties. The school is concerned about the destructive behavior of a few students.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Steffenhagen, 56, posted $15,000 bond after being charged with being a principal to discharge a destructive device. David J. Neal, miamiherald, "He wanted to get rid of apartment tenants. Then, the bombs went off, cops say," 11 June 2018 Steffenhagen and Martin face charges of making a destructive device. David Harris,, "Men made acid bombs to scare unwanted occupants at Baldwin Park-area home, affidavit says," 7 June 2018 Buruli ulcer is caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium ulcerans and results in severe destructive lesions of skin and soft tissue, the paper states. Euan Mckirdy, CNN, "Flesh-eating ulcer spreading in Australia and reasons remain a mystery," 16 Apr. 2018 Unlucky Friday 13th events Here is a look at some of Friday 13th's unlucky history: Nazis dropped bombs on Buckingham Palace on Friday, Sept. 13, 1940 during the destructive blitz attacks. Leada Gore,, "Why is Friday 13th considered unlucky?," 13 Apr. 2018 The Atlantic hurricane season is expected to be just as busy this year, but not as destructive as the record-breaking season in 2017, researchers said Thursday. Travis Fedschun, Fox News, "2018 hurricane season will be 'slightly above-average,' researchers say," 5 Apr. 2018 Joseph Nelson, 36, has been charged with possession of a hoax destructive device and aggravated assault. Nicole Blanchard, idahostatesman, "Washington man arrested after attempting to set off grenade outside Idaho bar | Idaho Statesman," 20 Mar. 2018 The others are Silent Chollima, which is involved in destructive attacks and is believed responsible for the hack that destroyed Sony computers in 2014. Ken Dilanian, NBC News, "Watch out. North Korea keeps getting better at hacking," 20 Feb. 2018 According to the federal indictment, Scott committed arson at an apartment building in LaPlace on Aug. 13, 2017 and possessed a destructive device on the same date. Hanna Krueger,, "Kenner man accused of setting fire to ex-girlfriend's car, apartment pleads guilty to arson," 16 July 2017

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

6 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for destructive

The first known use of destructive was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for destructive



English Language Learners Definition of destructive

: causing a very large amount of damage : causing destruction or harm


de·struc·tive | \di-ˈstrək-tiv \

Kids Definition of destructive

1 : causing great damage or ruin a destructive storm

2 : not positive or helpful destructive criticism

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Comments on destructive

What made you want to look up destructive? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


evasion of direct action or statement

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