de·​struc·​tive | \ di-ˈstrək-tiv How to pronounce destructive (audio) \

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

Italian giants Napoli and Milan are also rumoured to be keen on a move for the destructive midfielder this summer., "Dorukhan Tokoz: 5 Things to Know About the Latest Arsenal Transfer Target," 12 June 2019 Wildfire season in Canada - at least as destructive as in the United States - is off to a ferocious start. Amanda Coletta, Anchorage Daily News, "Canada’s wildfire season is off to a ferocious start," 11 June 2019 The move reflects a growing unease on Capitol Hill with the Trump administration’s close relationship with Riyadh, as well as concerns about U.S. involvement in the kingdom’s destructive war in Yemen. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "A Farewell to Arms Deals," 11 June 2019 But reefs are imperiled by a range of threats including warming waters, acidifying seas, destructive fishing methods, and agricultural and other runoff. Paul Tullis, New York Times, "To Map a Coral Reef, Peel Back the Seawater," 10 June 2019 As climate change has made summers hotter and winter rain more unpredictable, PG&E's power lines sparked dangerous and destructive fires in 2017 and 2018. Megan Geuss, Ars Technica, "As summer heats up, Calif. utility starts cutting power to prevent wildfires," 10 June 2019 These are the Khmer noodles of unity and solidarity, not destructive noodles. Washington Post, "Near-erasure of Cambodian opposition makes noodles a target," 10 June 2019 This is kind of an unthinkable self destructive act., "What was he thinking? Defense attorney Roger Synenberg sends anonymous letter calling a witness against his client a snitch – This Week in the CLE," 9 June 2019 Because that stuff is scary to people who see anything different as destructive. J.d. Crowe |,, "Alabama’s official yoga pose," 9 June 2019

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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Statistics for destructive

Last Updated

16 Jun 2019

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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 How to pronounce destructive (audio) \

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

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