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 This segment of What’s Ahead lays out why Biden’s plans would be so destructive to both our economic health and our national security. Steve Forbes, Forbes, 3 June 2021 Names repeat every six years, unless a storm is particularly destructive. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, 2 June 2021 This can be very destructive to those around the chronic/angry worrier. Terry Pluto, cleveland, 22 May 2021 The curtain was pulled back to reveal a partnership that was more destructive than previously imagined. New York Times, 20 May 2021 So far, the current onslaught has not been as directly destructive to health facilities as 2014, when multiple hospitals and clinics took direct hits from Israeli bombing, as did U.N. schools housing the displaced. Fares Akram And Aya Batrawy,, 19 May 2021 In the chamber, to debate her destructive socialist policies. Chris Cillizza, CNN, 13 May 2021 The plan was immensely destructive yet relied on storm-flooding projections only through the 2050s. Keith Gessen, Curbed, 10 May 2021 The utilities have defended their response, saying Isaias was far more destructive than had been anticipated. Russell Blair,, 7 May 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.

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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

12 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Destructive.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Jun. 2021.

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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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