di·​lap·​i·​dat·​ed də-ˈla-pə-ˌdā-təd How to pronounce dilapidated (audio)
: decayed, deteriorated, or fallen into partial ruin especially through neglect or misuse
a dilapidated old house

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Something that is dilapidated may not have been literally pummeled with stones, but it might look that way. Dilapidated derives (via the English verb dilapidate) from dilapidatus, the past participle of the Latin verb dilapidare ("to squander or destroy"). That verb was formed by combining dis-, meaning "apart," with the verb lapidare, meaning "to pelt with stones." Other English descendants of lapidare include the verb lapidate ("to pelt or kill with stones") and the noun lapidary, which is used to refer to a person who cuts or polishes precious stones. 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 dilapidated in a Sentence

a dilapidated car that had seen better days
Recent Examples on the Web Despite the many hazards — fire, crime and more — that come with such widespread neglect, officials from the property agency and the mayor’s office have failed for years to even catalog the city’s dilapidated buildings, the first step in averting future disaster. John Eligon, New York Times, 10 Nov. 2023 Justice Department launches civil rights investigation into dilapidated and unsanitary conditions at Georgia's Fulton County Jail The investigation will also look into whether the jail discriminates against detainees with psychiatric disabilities. Devon M. Sayers, CNN, 31 Aug. 2023 But the Lincoln and the Dewey are among a dozen of the trust’s oldest and most dilapidated buildings that city officials believe will be hardest to rehabilitate. Liam Dillon, Los Angeles Times, 13 Oct. 2023 To make way for the mounds of rock and other materials that will come off the barges, the Port Authority cleared more than 12 acres that held dilapidated buildings and industrial equipment that were no longer needed at the airport. Patrick McGeehan, New York Times, 10 Oct. 2023 Toddler’s body found in Martinsville connected to Indianapolis missing person case April 21: Indianapolis police discovered the body of a female child in the bottom drawer of a dresser inside a dilapidated house near Martinsville. The Indianapolis Star, 28 Aug. 2023 Analysts said the country’s woes — political division, economic instability, corruption, environmental degradation and dilapidated infrastructure — seemed to coalesce in one catastrophe when the dams south of the city collapsed. Isabella Kwai, New York Times, 13 Sep. 2023 On one side of the stage, housing the band, is the dilapidated façade of a suburban home on a tilt, as if dropped from the sky. Sara Holdren, Vulture, 30 Aug. 2023 Those contributions led to the repair of the dilapidated Japanese garden ahead of a visit this summer by a delegation from Matsumoto, one of Salt Lake City’s sister cities. Blake Apgar, The Salt Lake Tribune, 25 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'dilapidated.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


see dilapidate

First Known Use

1565, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of dilapidated was in 1565


Dictionary Entries Near dilapidated

Cite this Entry

“Dilapidated.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dilapidated. Accessed 7 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


: partly ruined or decayed especially from age or lack of care
a dilapidated old house

More from Merriam-Webster on dilapidated

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