ru·​in | \ ˈrü-ən How to pronounce ruin (audio) , -ˌin; ˈrün \
ruined\ ˈrü-​ənd How to pronounce ruin (audio) , -​ˌind ; ˈründ , dialectal  ˈrü-​ənt How to pronounce ruin (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 plural the city lay in ruins
b : the remains of something destroyed usually used in plural the 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
b : damage, injury
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 None of his players have ever had to negotiate a contract or deal with brands until now, and one wrong move could ruin a better opportunity down the line. J.l. Kirven, The Indianapolis Star, 26 July 2021 No All-Star careers are likely to be launched anytime soon, but the Rangers could certainly ruin a player or two this season by rushing youth. Kevin Sherrington, Dallas News, 20 July 2021 While there’s excitement about opportunity, there’s also some trepidation that too much growth could ruin what makes Duluth inviting in the first place — a dilemma familiar to Californians. Michael Smolens Columnist, San Diego Union-Tribune, 23 June 2021 This also means ensuring that those who can't take part don't try to ruin it for everyone. Peter Suciu, Forbes, 2 June 2021 Don't ruin it for everybody else How will all these rules be enforced? Ben Steele, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 7 Apr. 2021 The last chapters don’t completely satisfy the show’s early ambitions, but that doesn’t ruin the experience as a whole., 1 July 2021 Opponents fearmonger that climate policies will ruin the domestic economy and consign billions globally to perpetual poverty. David Carlin, Forbes, 21 Apr. 2021 Hazel is getting very emotional worrying about how Byron will ruin Judiff’s life, but Judiff isn’t concerned. Jessica Goldstein, Vulture, 8 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The nation should not tolerate more deaths, hospitalizations, shutdowns, and economic and personal ruin. Arthur L. Caplan, STAT, 27 July 2021 Edwards and Duke earned spots in a runoff, which Edwards won in a landslide by stoking fears that an ex-Nazi in the governor's mansion would bring economic ruin. Kevin Mcgill, Fox News, 12 July 2021 Edwards and Duke earned spots in a runoff, which Edwards won in a landslide by stoking fears that an ex-Nazi in the governor’s mansion would bring economic ruin. NBC News, 12 July 2021 There has been so much personal loss and so much economic ruin among workers who lost their livelihood and small-business owners who shut down. Chris Farrell, Star Tribune, 20 Mar. 2021 A year later: more than half a million Americans dead, plus widespread economic ruin, the incalculable proliferation of domestic misery, and the heavy toll on the category of worker now designated essential. Nick Paumgarten, The New Yorker, 7 Mar. 2021 The towers will likely disappear or fall into ruin. Erik Kain, Forbes, 4 June 2021 After the school burned in 1976, the site fell into ruin and became a dumping ground. Author: Stewart Huntington, Anchorage Daily News, 23 May 2021 Many of the paper’s advertising partners, some facing economic ruin, pulled back their ad buys. Meg James, Los Angeles Times, 3 May 2021

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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Learn More About ruin

Time Traveler for ruin

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near ruin



ruin agate

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Statistics for ruin

Last Updated

2 Aug 2021

Cite this Entry

“Ruin.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Aug. 2021.

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More Definitions for ruin



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

More from Merriam-Webster on ruin

Nglish: Translation of ruin for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ruin for Arabic Speakers


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