ruin

1 of 2

verb

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

transitive verb

1
a
: 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
ruiner noun

ruin

2 of 2

noun

1
a
: 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 temple
the ruins of his life
2
: a ruined building, person, or object
3
a
: the action of destroying, laying waste, or wrecking
b
4
a
: physical, moral, economic, or social collapse
b
archaic : a falling down : collapse
from age to age … the crash of ruin fitfully resoundsWilliam Wordsworth
5
: a cause of destruction

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.
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
The always-on gadgets that were supposed to make my life easier, more fun, and more productive, now often disrupt my sleep, ruin any semblance of work-life balance, and wipe out my self-esteem. Jennifer Jolly, USA TODAY, 16 Apr. 2024 These ruins — a rectangular stone building and related artifacts — were left from an agricultural and herding community, which eventually abandoned the site. Aspen Pflughoeft, Miami Herald, 16 Apr. 2024 Didn’t get the job done today and ruined one of Cole’s great outings. Jaylon Thompson, Kansas City Star, 14 Apr. 2024 Jodi Marks is joyous and earthy as Nelly, whose unplanned pregnancy could ruin her plans for college and adventure. Pam Kragen, San Diego Union-Tribune, 13 Apr. 2024 Spare me how the ambience was ruined when Mount Davis blocked the view of the Oakland hills. Jerry McDonald, The Mercury News, 12 Apr. 2024 Your life could be ruined after literally giving your entire life to public service. John Leland John Leland, New York Times, 11 Apr. 2024 The American Astronomical Society advises against using any water or liquid glass cleaner to clean the lenses, as this may ruin the cardboard and cause the lenses to detach. Taylor Nicioli, CNN, 9 Apr. 2024 California won’t experience totality, but there’s still plenty to see. April 8, 2024 2 Here are some tips for taking photos of Monday’s upcoming solar eclipse without ruining your smartphone. Los Angeles Times, 8 Apr. 2024
Noun
Their ruins still stand across the continent: the stone structures of Chaco Canyon, in New Mexico; the complex irrigation systems of the Huhugam, in Arizona; the great mounds of Cahokia and other Mississippian cities on rivers across the eastern half of the United States. Kathleen Duval, The Atlantic, 2 Apr. 2024 Just chaos and ruin, with rubble and debris scattered in every single direction. The Washington Post, arkansasonline.com, 28 Mar. 2024 Imperioli plays the doctor’s brother, Mayor Peter Stockmann—a man who, fearing the town’s economic ruin, plots to turn its residents against the facts. Zach Helfand, The New Yorker, 24 Mar. 2024 The ruins of an ancient fortress were recently discovered on a small island along the west coast of Ireland. Brendan Rascius, Miami Herald, 5 Apr. 2024 After years of anti-Muslim pogroms, these issues came to a symbolic head in January, with Modi’s public inauguration of the Ram Mandir, a controversial Hindu temple built atop the ruins of the Babri Masjid, the mosque demolished by Hindu extremists in 1992. Siddhant Adlakha, TIME, 5 Apr. 2024 But by the time Simon Warrack, a British stonemason with a fascination for ancient ruins, stumbled upon the scene in 2007, all that remained of them were the four feet, still attached to pedestals. Stephanie Yang, Los Angeles Times, 3 Apr. 2024 Ukraine’s army of about one million soldiers is fighting the largest war in Europe since World War II, waged in muddy trenches or the ruins of cities in urban combat. Andrew E. Kramer, New York Times, 3 Apr. 2024 The bust is the latest in a long line of archaeological discoveries within the ruins of Philippi, a UNESCO World Heritage site in northeastern Greece. Sonja Anderson, Smithsonian Magazine, 3 Apr. 2024

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

Word History

Etymology

Noun

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

First Known Use

Verb

1572, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 3

Noun

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near ruin

Cite this Entry

“Ruin.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ruin. Accessed 22 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

ruin

1 of 2 noun
ru·​in ˈrü-ən How to pronounce ruin (audio)
-ˌin
1
: complete collapse or destruction
2
: the remains of something destroyed
usually used in plural
the ruins of a city

ruin

2 of 2 verb
1
: to reduce to ruins
2
a
: to damage beyond repair
ruiner noun

More from Merriam-Webster on ruin

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!