di·​lap·​i·​date | \ də-ˈla-pə-ˌdāt How to pronounce dilapidate (audio) \
dilapidated; dilapidating

Definition of dilapidate

transitive verb

1 : to bring into a condition of decay or partial ruin furniture is dilapidated by use— Janet Flanner
2 archaic : squander

intransitive verb

: to decay, deteriorate, or fall into partial ruin especially through neglect or misuse : to become dilapidated

Other Words from dilapidate

dilapidation \ də-​ˌla-​pə-​ˈdā-​shən How to pronounce dilapidate (audio) \ noun

The Origin of Dilapidate

Something that is dilapidated may not have been literally pummeled with stones, but it might look that way. Dilapidate derives from the past participle of the Latin verb dilapidare, meaning "to squander or destroy." That verb was formed by combining "dis-" with another verb, lapidare, meaning "to pelt with stones." From there it's just a stone's throw to some other English relatives of "dilapidate." You might, for example, notice a resemblance between "lapidare" and our word for a person who cuts or polishes precious stones, "lapidary." That's because both words share as a root the Latin noun lapis, meaning "stone." We also find "lapis" in the name "lapis lazuli," a bright blue semiprecious stone.

Examples of dilapidate in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web On the one hand, the structure is dilapidated and inaccessible to people with disabilities — a significant problem when a good portion of your regulars are senior citizens. Ben Sales, sun-sentinel.com, 19 Nov. 2019 There’s a sparkly new grocery store and dozens of the greystones that were near the complex and were once dilapidated have been renovated and modernized. Lolly Bowean, chicagotribune.com, 6 Sep. 2019 Though the house was dilapidated, Goodman coaxed her kids into helping her spruce it up. Brian Goldstone, The New Republic, 21 Aug. 2019 Prepa’s generation plants and distribution lines were dilapidated after years of inadequate maintenance when Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico last year, knocking out power for millions of customers. Andrew Scurria, WSJ, 11 July 2018 This week, England ended their infamous penalty kick shootout jinx, Sweden continued their unlikely run, Belgium survived a thriller and Brazil dilapidated Mexico’s dreams. Juan Pimiento, chicagotribune.com, 5 July 2018 It was riddled with vacancies and by all accounts was dilapidated. Meg Kelly, Washington Post, 28 Feb. 2018 Rossello highlighted how the island’s electrical grid, which was severely dilapidated even prior to the storms, was obsolete and working off of a generation system that was 28 years older than the average electric power utility in the United States. Reuters, Fortune, 23 Jan. 2018 One of Poway’s most historic structures — one that has become rat-infested and dilapidated since being shuttered and fenced off 15 years ago — will likely be torn down to make way for a low-income housing complex for veterans. J. Harry Jones, sandiegouniontribune.com, 6 Jan. 2018 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dilapidate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of dilapidate

1565, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for dilapidate

Latin dilapidatus, past participle of dilapidare to squander, destroy, from dis- + lapidare to pelt with stones, from lapid-, lapis stone

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Cite this Entry

“Dilapidate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dilapidate. Accessed 15 Aug. 2022.

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