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 That raised the specter of California utilities having to shoulder all the costs of future wildfires at a time when the blazes are growing more frequent and destructive amid climate change. Washington Post, "Judge keeps California law on utilities paying fire damages," 28 Nov. 2019 The report says that even if all unconditional commitments under the Paris Agreement are enacted, global temperatures are expected to rise by 5.8 degrees by 2100, bringing even wider-ranging and more destructive climate impacts. Ashley Shaffer, USA TODAY, "Trump pardoned Bread. What about Butter? 🦃," 26 Nov. 2019 More wildfires actually occur in the eastern part of the US, but wildfires in the West tend to be larger and more destructive, according to data compiled by the Congressional Research Service. Leah Asmelash, CNN, "All your wildfire questions answered," 30 Oct. 2019 Wildfires are growing deadlier and more destructive amid climate change. Stefanie Dazio And Brian Melley,, "Firefighters race to control blazes before winds roar back as California’s biggest utility admits it may have ignited wine country fire," 25 Oct. 2019 In Houston, on the Gulf of Mexico, hurricanes will grow more destructive and temperatures will soar. Teen Vogue, "What Climate Change Will Do to Three Major American Cities by 2100," 7 Oct. 2019 As California’s wildfires have become more destructive, many homeowners are individually spending thousands of dollars on systems to protect their homes. Los Angeles Times, "Newsletter: Essential California Week in Review: Reforming college sports," 5 Oct. 2019 Experts have long predicted that wildfires will grow longer, more intense and more destructive as the climate continues to warm. oregonlive, "Summer 2019: the Oregon wildfire season that wasn’t," 4 Oct. 2019 Men like these had told far bigger lies for far bigger and scarier clients to far more destructive ends. Maureen Tkacik, The New Republic, "Everybody thinks his business is different,," 18 Sep. 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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Time Traveler for destructive

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for destructive

Last Updated

1 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Destructive.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 7 December 2019.

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More Definitions for destructive


How to pronounce destructive (audio)

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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