ru·​in | \ ˈrü-ən How to pronounce ruin (audio) , -ˌin; ˈrün \
ruined\ ˈrü-​ənd How to pronounce ruined (audio) , -​ˌind ; ˈründ , dialectal  ˈrü-​ənt How to pronounce ruined (audio) , -​ˌint ; ˈrünt \; ruining; ruins

Definition of ruin

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to damage irreparably
b : bankrupt, impoverish ruined by stock speculation
2 : to subject to frustration, failure, or disaster will ruin your chances of promotion
3 : to reduce to ruins : devastate

intransitive verb

: to become ruined



Definition of ruin (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : the state of being ruined archaic except in pluralthe city lay in ruins
b : the remains of something destroyed usually used in pluralthe ruins of an ancient templethe ruins of his life
2 : a ruined building, person, or object
3a : the action of destroying, laying waste, or wrecking
4a : physical, moral, economic, or social collapse
b archaic : a falling down : collapse from age to age … the crash of ruin fitfully resounds— William Wordsworth
5 : a cause of destruction

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Other Words from ruin


ruiner noun

Examples of ruin in a Sentence

Verb The bad weather ruined the party. I ruined the sauce by adding too much garlic. His low test scores ruined his chances of getting into a good school. Poor customer service ruined the company's reputation. He was ruined by debt. The scandal ruined the mayor. Noun The incident led to the ruin of their relationship. The abandoned town had gone to ruin. Don't let the house your grandfather built fall into ruin. The castle is now a ruin. The drought brought economic ruin to local farmers. Her drug addiction brought her to the brink of ruin.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Betty implores Dan not to ruin their family life together. Jean Bentley,, "Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story Episode 4 Recap: Gaslighter," 16 June 2020 Religious Americans sometimes fear that intolerant secular progressives will soon try to ruin them for holding traditional views. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Religious Liberty Lives at the Supreme Court," 8 July 2020 In addition, 50 million to 70 million Americans suffer from sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, insomnia and restless leg syndrome, which can ruin a good night's shuteye. Sandee Lamotte, CNN, "Less dream-stage REM sleep linked to higher risk of death, study says," 6 July 2020 Nothing can ruin a day of summer fun faster than blisters or cuts from your shoes. Nicole Briese, USA TODAY, "Comfy summer sandals are 60% off right now at Dr. Scholl's—but they're going fast," 5 July 2020 Trump’s public dealings with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey have run a roller coaster from warm expressions of friendship to explosive threats on Twitter to ruin the Turkish economy. Carlotta Gall,, "NASA scientist, detained in Turkey for years, returns to US," 30 June 2020 Even if a drink is delicious, limp mint or ugly garnishes can ruin that. Dahlia Ghabour, The Courier-Journal, "'Really good bartenders are like rockstars': Why you should check out the Gold Bar," 26 June 2020 Sand is great for building castles, but just a few grains can ruin a bite of even the best sandwich. Washington Post, "That sand between your toes may start as rock. But it may also be fish poop.," 24 June 2020 Too much silt or mud can also ruin the habitat for snails, mussels, insects and other parts of the food chain that make up the Cahaba’s unique ecosystem. Dennis Pillion |, al, "Mercedes construction runoff muddies Cahaba tributary, Alabama warns," 24 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Paint degrades under sunlight and artificial light, and throughout the centuries, misguided cheapos have paid for subpar restorations that only further ruin good art. Matt Jancer, Wired, "13 YouTube Channels We Geek Out Over," 10 July 2020 Economies already stretched thin before the virus lie on the precipice of ruin., "Virus gains steam across Latin America," 24 June 2020 Briefly: The cancellation of the Minor League Baseball season and looming contraction could bring ruin to a number of lower-level minor league teams, but the two Class A affiliates the Rangers own should not be devastated. Allie Morris, Dallas News, "How the Rangers starting rotation used delayed negotiations to their advantage ahead of spring training part 2," 1 July 2020 In addition to claiming the lives of over 110,000 people, throwing the economy into ruin, and putting more than 30 million people out of work, the pandemic has inconvenienced the rich. J.c. Pan, The New Republic, "The Pandemic Welfare State for the One Percent," 17 June 2020 Hundreds of them have died without receiving help from the health system, and many families have faced financial ruin due to the cost of trying to care for the ill., "Slowing the coronavirus is speeding the spread of other diseases," 14 June 2020 Each ruin is a monument to a vanished age of America. Chris Malloy, Condé Nast Traveler, "Arizona’s Ghost Towns Are a Natural Escape During Coronavirus," 8 June 2020 After taking the helm at AMD in 2014, Su took a company on the verge of financial ruin and turned it into a top performer in the S&P 500 and a formidable competitor to Intel. Clare Duffy, CNN, "AMD's Lisa Su was the highest-paid CEO in the S&P 500 last year," 1 June 2020 Inside the eight desperate weeks that saved SpaceX from ruin Two human lives, NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken, hung in the balance. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "“The trampoline is working”—SpaceX returns human spaceflight to America," 30 May 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ruin.' 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 ruin


1572, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 3


12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4b

History and Etymology for ruin


Middle English ruine, from Anglo-French, from Latin ruina, from ruere to rush headlong, fall, collapse

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Time Traveler for ruin

Time Traveler

The first known use of ruin was in the 12th century

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Statistics for ruin

Last Updated

1 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Ruin.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for ruin


How to pronounce ruin (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of ruin

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to damage (something) so badly that it is no longer useful, valuable, enjoyable, etc. : to spoil or destroy (something)
: to cause (someone) to lose money, social status, etc.



English Language Learners Definition of ruin (Entry 2 of 2)

: a state of complete destruction : a state of being ruined
: the remaining pieces of something that was destroyed
: the state of having lost money, social status, etc.


ru·​in | \ ˈrü-ən How to pronounce ruin (audio) \
ruined; ruining

Kids Definition of ruin

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to reduce to wreckage a ruined city
2 : to damage beyond repair … “she's … ruined every scrap of clothes she owns.”— Katherine Paterson, Jacob Have I Loved
3 : to have a very bad effect on the quality of (something) Losing my wallet ruined the trip.



Kids Definition of ruin (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : complete collapse or destruction
2 ruins plural : the remains of something destroyed the ruins of an ancient city
3 : the situation in which someone experiences loss of money, social status, or position They were on the brink of financial ruin.
in ruins
: nearly or completely destroyed Her reputation was in ruins— Richard Peck, A Year Down Yonder

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More from Merriam-Webster on ruin

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ruin

Spanish Central: Translation of ruin

Nglish: Translation of ruin for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ruin for Arabic Speakers

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