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

Japan's surprise attack was devastating from an operational level and affected morale across the country. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "After 77 Years, We're Still Identifying Men Who Died at Pearl Harbor," 7 Dec. 2018 The injury is devastating for St. Andrew’s as the North Carolina commit (44 goals, 20 assists) has really come on in the second half of the season as a dynamic scorer up top. Wells Dusenbury, Sun-Sentinel.com, "State lacrosse preview: 10 things to watch for with St. Andrew's, Jupiter and American Heritage-Delray," 10 May 2018 Needless to say, once Crew gets a bit older and his chubby cheeks aren't the center of photos anymore, I'll be devastated. Taylor Mead, House Beautiful, "Joanna Gaines Reveals There's a Sign-Up Sheet to Hold Baby Crew Gaines at Magnolia," 27 Mar. 2019 Its quiet, devastating take on the nature of family and love — and the limits of the law — is unforgettable. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "The 21 best movies of 2018," 14 Dec. 2018 Though Jebi has devastated parts of the country, Japan remains incredibly safe to visit. Katherine Lagrave, Condé Nast Traveler, "Typhoon Jebi Batters Japan, Forces Airport Closure," 5 Sep. 2018 Corporations are spraying pesticides that harm the soil, spearheading irrigation projects that devastate river beds, and decreasing the number of natural resources available to communities that rely upon them. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "A Brazilian Modeling Superstar Makes a Life-Changing Journey Into the Amazon," 7 Mar. 2019 The Islamic State group also claimed responsibility for those attacks, which, along with the attack at the Imperial Hotel, devastated the country’s tourism sector as travel agencies pulled out and governments issued travel warnings. Bouazza Ben Bouazza, The Seattle Times, "17 on trial in deadly Tunisian beach attack on UK tourists," 29 Jan. 2019 As Hurricane Florence continues to barrel toward the Carolinas, those in its path are reminded of other major storms that devastated the area and cost billions to the coastal towns. Kaitlyn Schallhorn, Fox News, "Hurricane Florence reminds Carolinas of Hugo, other major storms," 12 Sep. 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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Learn More about devastate

Dictionary Entries near devastate

devance

devant

devast

devastate

devastated

devastating

deve

Statistics for devastate

Last Updated

15 May 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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