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

Holtzclaw’s family said in a statement that it is devastated by the ruling, but not surprised. USA TODAY, "Momoa at Mauna Kea, Confederate context, Guthrie garbage tribute: News from around our 50 states," 2 Aug. 2019 The once-thriving city became the unwilling national symbol for urban decline and government neglect after it was devastated by the disappearance of the auto industry and an eroding tax base. Tyrone Beason, Los Angeles Times, "‘We’re old news, but we’re still living this’ — mistrust still flows in Flint," 30 July 2019 Sitting in a café near Notre-Dame cathedral, the day after it was devastated by fire, pediatrician Sydney Sebban says doctors have to take the time to build trust with parents. Alex Whiting, CNN, "How France is persuading its citizens to get vaccinated," 3 July 2019 Ramos’ family said at the time of the clemency that they were devastated by the governor’s decision. Elise Schmelzer, The Denver Post, "Curtis Brooks, sentenced to die in prison at age 17, is free after 24 years behind bars," 2 July 2019 The crisis, as well as being devastating for the families of those killed, has hit morale among the planemakers’ employees. The Economist, "Boeing’s boss wins a reprieve, not redemption," 21 June 2019 Science Seven years after an earthquake devastated Japan, humans and robots are still trying to clean up Fukushima. Jason Kehe, WIRED, "Tidy the F*ck Up: A Conversation With Messie Condo," 17 June 2019 Just wanted to let this heartless driver know she was absolutely devastated. Sainted & Tainted Writers, Twin Cities, "Tainted: On Sunday afternoon, north of Deer Park, you hit a chocolate lab and didn’t bother to stop," 15 June 2019 After a series of bombings devastate the town during spring break, they’re pulled in by one of the victim’s families to find out who is responsible. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "Watch the first full trailer for Veronica Mars season 4," 14 June 2019

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

7 Aug 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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