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 devastate (audio) \ noun
devastative \ ˈde-​və-​ˌstā-​tiv How to pronounce devastate (audio) \ adjective
devastator \ ˈde-​və-​ˌstā-​tər How to pronounce devastate (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for devastate

Synonyms

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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 Glacial, unforgiving government bureaucracies can devastate lives. Benjamin Mazer, Wired, "There Should Be a Nobel Prize for Vaccine Logistics," 6 Jan. 2021 More greenhouse gases continue to be released in the air, more waste continues to pile up in landfills and more drastic weather events such as floods, drought and wildfires continue to devastate the country. Sarah Bowman, The Indianapolis Star, "Scrub Hub: How can I be more environmentally-friendly in the new year?," 30 Dec. 2020 Meanwhile as fires continue to devastate the West, the California legislature, meeting in emergency session, votes to ban lightning. Dave Barry, Washington Post, "Dave Barry’s Year in Review 2020," 27 Dec. 2020 But some lawmakers fear that the continuing curbs could devastate the hospitality industry, and on Monday expressed reservations. Mark Landler, New York Times, "Johnson Basks in a Rare Burst of Good U.K. News," 23 Nov. 2020 Exclusion from that market could devastate Australian fisheries. Washington Post, "Amid Australian lobster glut, supermarkets impose purchase limits," 16 Dec. 2020 Targeting federal lands would devastate New Mexico’s oil and gas industry and its economy, because of the state’s large federal estate. Andrew Stuttaford, National Review, "The Capital Letter: Week of November 30," 4 Dec. 2020 The ongoing fight to prevent the invasive Asian giant hornet, which can devastate honeybee colonies, from gaining a foothold is far from over and residents are being asked to report any sightings. NBC News, "First 'murder hornet' nest in U.S. destroyed, Washington state officials say," 26 Oct. 2020 After three quarters of brilliant running, Lamar Jackson left the field with cramps, the latest injury to devastate the Ravens over the last two months. Baltimore Sun Staff, baltimoresun.com, "Instant analysis from Ravens’ wild 47-42 win over Browns on ‘Monday Night Football’," 14 Dec. 2020

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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Time Traveler for devastate

Time Traveler

The first known use of devastate was in 1638

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Statistics for devastate

Last Updated

17 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Devastate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/devastate. Accessed 22 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for devastate

devastate

verb
How to pronounce devastate (audio)

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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