dev·​as·​tat·​ing | \ ˈde-və-ˌstā-tiŋ How to pronounce devastating (audio) \

Definition of devastating

1 : causing great damage or harm a devastating flood/earthquake a devastating injury A devastating coastal tsunami could also result from a severe displacement of the San Andreas Fault.— Gary Sandquist
2 : causing extreme emotional pain a devastating loss Even the most banal domestic melodramas, readers come to understand, are experienced as devastating tragedies by children living them for the first time.Entertainment Weekly
3 : extremely effective or powerful a devastating satire He had a devastating wit and an utter contempt for shoddy work in physics.— Jeremy Bernstein

Other Words from devastating

devastatingly \ ˈde-​və-​ˌstā-​tiŋ-​lē How to pronounce devastating (audio) \ adverb
Some people recover readily from the infection, but in others it becomes disseminated, spreading rapidly and devastatingly from lungs to bones, skin and nervous system — Lawrence Galton Postcards from the Edge is a devastatingly savvy, bitingly funny, yet sad movie based on Carrie Fisher's autobiographical novel about Hollywood. — Jeffrey Lyons … is portrayed as a devastatingly effective power broker in the Senate. — Alan Brinkley

First Known Use of devastating

1634, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of devastating was in 1634

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Cite this Entry

“Devastating.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Aug. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on devastating

Nglish: Translation of devastating for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of devastating for Arabic Speakers


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