destructive

adjective
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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web The Eternals have disguised themselves among humans for centuries, protecting the planet against their destructive counterparts. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Eternals: What We Know So Far," 3 May 2021 Last week, Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt also expressed frustration with the destructive protests. oregonlive, "Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese lowers jail booking criteria," 30 Apr. 2021 This includes the destructive 1619 Project, which seeks to replace 1776 with the year slaves first arrived in North America as the country’s true founding. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "A Backlash Against Bad History," 30 Apr. 2021 The state’s most deadly and destructive blaze burned 18,804 structures and killed 85 people, wiping out roughly 85 percent of the town of Paradise. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Newsom’s $1B wildfire plan favors Sierra Nevada logging over homeowners," 30 Apr. 2021 That’s a roughly 20-mile track of destructive hail, some the size of a tennis ball. Matthew Cappucci, Anchorage Daily News, "Destructive hail bombards areas near Oklahoma City, Fort Worth and San Antonio," 29 Apr. 2021 The virus has caused misery and loss in many places, but its destructive power has been felt intensely among the incarcerated, who have been infected at rates several times higher than those of their surrounding communities. New York Times, "… but some states rarely test inmates for the virus.," 31 Mar. 2021 Some experts believe Pyongyang's attention-grabbing missile launches over the last week may have been aimed at reminding President Biden of North Korea's destructive power and warning him to make a strong offer if nuclear negotiations resume. NBC News, "Georgia GOP's restrictive new voting law, Biden's question time and a mysterious light show in the Pacific Northwest," 26 Mar. 2021 Proof of the virus’s destructive power keeps accumulating. Meghan O'rourke, The Atlantic, "The Quest to Unlock the Mysteries of Long COVID," 8 Mar. 2021

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.

See More

First Known Use of destructive

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about destructive

Time Traveler for destructive

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for destructive

Last Updated

7 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Destructive.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/destructive. Accessed 14 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for destructive

destructive

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of destructive

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

destructive

adjective
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

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).

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Words Used by Nabokov Quiz

  • image1676440788
  • Choose the best definition or synonym for the word in bold: "There are some eructations that sound like cheers—at least, mine did." Lolita
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!