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

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb One taste might ruin you for all other Portland taquitos. oregonlive, 15 Sep. 2022 But high winds threatened to ruin the fun for some residents grappling with power outages. Lauren Wethington, Detroit Free Press, 6 Mar. 2022 Why do users continue to participate in a trend that has the potential to ruin their day — or at the very least, roast them? Daisy Maldonado, Allure, 28 Feb. 2022 Elliott navigated his way back through the field and right onto Harvick's bumper — perfect position to ruin another day for Harvick. Jenna Fryer,, 11 Oct. 2021 In the reboot, Milo invites Zoya to his home (see also: lair) and offers to ruin her sister Julian's (Jordan Alexander) life for her with a quick internet deep dive and a bit of light hacking. Leah Marilla Thomas,, 1 Aug. 2021 As if Outlook needed one more useless thing to ruin my day. Allison Morrow, CNN, 15 July 2021 Cramming the mattress into a car, SUV, or even a pickup truck can ruin it if bent. Bhg Test Kitchen, Better Homes & Gardens, 25 Aug. 2022 But of course, flooding rain can ruin agriculture, infrastructure and lives. F. Martin Ralph, Scientific American, 19 Aug. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Eventually, that backdrop transformed into an apocalyptic cityscape, destroyed by unknown forces and left in ruin. Brittany Spanos, Rolling Stone, 12 Sep. 2022 That ended in ruin, as most trips to Eugene have this millennium. Los Angeles Times, 8 Sep. 2022 After months of war and the financial strain of Russia’s Black Sea blockade, a decision to let the wheat go could mean financial ruin. Dalton Bennett, Washington Post, 19 July 2022 After months of war and the financial strain of Russia’s Black Sea blockade, a decision to let the wheat go could mean financial ruin. Dalton Bennett, Anchorage Daily News, 19 July 2022 The upturn in business for the casinos contrasts sharply with the reality of Atlantic City, which has been struggling to emerge from near financial ruin since 2016, when New Jersey imposed a state takeover. Alison Burdo, ProPublica, 2 June 2022 In this humanist film, which is as warm as an open fire on Christmas day, Jimmy Stewart plays the selfless George Bailey, who faces financial ruin and contemplates suicide in order to save his family. Hilary Weaver, ELLE, 1 June 2022 The uptick of this content will predictably result in yet more people being tricked into sending money to scammers or disclosing financial information, leading to identity theft and financial ruin. Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica, 18 May 2022 It is said the red demon appeared to the city’s founder, Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, who suffered financial ruin soon afterward. Duante Beddingfield, Detroit Free Press, 16 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

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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Dictionary Entries Near ruin



ruin agate

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Statistics for ruin

Last Updated

19 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Ruin.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Sep. 2022.

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More Definitions for ruin


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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