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

An influx of cheap, Chinese copycat fabric in uniquely African designs—combined with insecurity and instability in the region—devastated its textile industry and its economy at large. Sangeeta Singh-kurtz, Quartzy, "Governments are taking cultural appropriation to court," 28 Aug. 2019 Albert’s passing devastated the queen, who famously donned mourning clothes for the remainder of her reign. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "Thousands of Unseen Photographs, Documents Digitized for Prince Albert’s 200th Birthday," 26 Aug. 2019 The slave trade devastated communities, and many never recovered. USA Today, "Were Wanda Tucker’s ancestors America’s first slaves? A difficult search for answers in far-away Angola," 22 Aug. 2019 My trust in him is broken, and I’m devastated at his behavior. Abigail Van Buren, Twin Cities, "Dear Abby: Husband betrays wife’s trust by posting nude photos of her," 21 Aug. 2019 My trust in him is broken, and I’m devastated at his behavior. Dear Abby, oregonlive.com, "Dear Abby: Husband posts wife’s nude photos online and trust is lost in a flash," 21 Aug. 2019 Countries such as El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala would be devastated, sending a new flood of refugees streaming toward our border. Michael Tanner, National Review, "Trump’s Trade Critics Don’t Offer Better Options," 21 Aug. 2019 Vieques, by contrast, was more devastated, but most businesses have bounced back, especially along the Malecon, the promenade that volunteers rallied to rebuild along the waterfront in the town of Esperanza. Kathleen Squires, Condé Nast Traveler, "What to Expect Traveling in Post-Hurricane Puerto Rico," 20 Aug. 2019 My trust in him is broken, and I’m devastated at his behavior. Dear Abby, SFChronicle.com, "Dear Abby: Husband betrays wife’s trust by posting nude photos of her," 19 Aug. 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

4 Sep 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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