devastate

verb
dev·​as·​tate | \ ˈde-və-ˌstāt How to pronounce devastate (audio) \
devastated; devastating

Definition of devastate

transitive verb

1 : to bring to ruin or desolation by violent action a country devastated by war The typhoon devastated the island.
2 : to reduce to chaos, disorder, or helplessness : overwhelm devastated by grief Her wisecrack devastated the class.

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Other Words from devastate

devastation \ ˌde-​və-​ˈstā-​shən How to pronounce devastation (audio) \ noun
devastative \ ˈde-​və-​ˌstā-​tiv How to pronounce devastative (audio) \ adjective
devastator \ ˈde-​və-​ˌstā-​tər How to pronounce devastator (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for devastate

Synonyms

destroy, ravage, ruin, scourge

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Choose the Right Synonym for devastate

ravage, devastate, waste, sack, pillage, despoil mean to lay waste by plundering or destroying. ravage implies violent often cumulative depredation and destruction. a hurricane ravaged the coast devastate implies the complete ruin and desolation of a wide area. an earthquake devastated the city waste may imply producing the same result by a slow process rather than sudden and violent action. years of drought had wasted the area sack implies carrying off all valuable possessions from a place. barbarians sacked ancient Rome pillage implies ruthless plundering at will but without the completeness suggested by sack. settlements pillaged by Vikings despoil applies to looting or robbing without suggesting accompanying destruction. the Nazis despoiled the art museums

Examples of devastate in a Sentence

The flood devastated the town. The disease has devastated the area's oak tree population. The hurricane left the island completely devastated.
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Recent Examples on the Web

President Trump and Republicans have sought to curb the amount of funding sent to Puerto Rico, which was devastated by two hurricanes in 2017, insisting that the U.S. territory hasn’t properly spent previous federal aid. Andrew Duehren, WSJ, "Trump Promises Disaster Aid for Florida at Campaign Rally," 8 May 2019 Puerto Rico, which was devastated by Hurricane Maria in September, remained under a state of emergency. Danica Coto, BostonGlobe.com, "Tropical Storm Beryl moving closer to eastern Caribbean," 8 July 2018 Puerto Rico, which was devastated by Hurricane Maria in September, remained under a state of emergency. Danica Coto, Houston Chronicle, "Weakened Beryl moving to Caribbean; Chris forms in Atlantic," 8 July 2018 Many Caribbean islands, including Puerto Rico, were devastated by intense storms during last year’s hurricane season, which officially lasts from June 1 until November 30. Billy Perrigo, Time, "Hurricane Beryl Is Officially the First Atlantic Hurricane of the Year. Here's Where it's Headed," 6 July 2018 Last week, sunbathers lounged on a pool deck high above the bay here, on a block that was devastated by the storm. New York Times, "New Buildings Rise in Flood Zones," 6 July 2018 Chechnya, a predominantly Muslim region in southern Russia, was devastated by wars between separatists and Russian forces. Hemza Hendawi, chicagotribune.com, "Reports: Salah considering retirement from Egypt due to Chechnya controversy," 25 June 2018 Catonsville and Oella in Baltimore County and Ellicott City in Howard County were devastated by flooding when around 10 inches of rain fell in two hours on Sunday, May 27. Cody Boteler, baltimoresun.com, "Catonsville chamber mobilizing to raise funds for flood-damaged businesses," 5 June 2018 During Harvey, aquarium officials took in other birds and marine animals from the University of Texas-Austin Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas and the Aquarium at Rockport Harbor — both areas that were devastated by the storm. Alex Stuckey, San Antonio Express-News, "Texas State Aquarium doubles down on wildlife rescue, rehabilitation after Harvey," 3 June 2018

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

1638, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for devastate

Latin devastatus, past participle of devastare, from de- + vastare to lay waste — more at waste

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Dictionary Entries near devastate

devance

devant

devast

devastate

devastated

devastating

deve

Statistics for devastate

Last Updated

12 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for devastate

The first known use of devastate was in 1638

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More Definitions for devastate

devastate

verb

English Language Learners Definition of devastate

: to destroy much or most of (something) : to cause great damage or harm to (something)
: to cause (someone) to feel extreme emotional pain

devastate

verb
dev·​as·​tate | \ ˈde-və-ˌstāt How to pronounce devastate (audio) \
devastated; devastating

Kids Definition of devastate

1 : to destroy entirely or nearly entirely The forest was devastated by fire.
2 : to cause to suffer emotionally He was devastated by the loss.

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Comments on devastate

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