devastating

adjective dev·as·tat·ing \ ˈde-və-ˌstā-tiŋ \

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

devastatingly

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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