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 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


ruinate \ ˈrü-​ə-​ˌnāt How to pronounce ruinate (audio) , -​nət \ adjective
ruinate \ ˈrü-​ə-​ˌnāt How to pronounce ruinate (audio) \ transitive verb

Examples of ruin in a Sentence


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.


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

Nitpicks can’t ruin some incredible emulation With all of that said, the programmers at esteemed Japanese company M2 deserve all the kudos in the world for shepherding this system's emulation core. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Sega Genesis Mini review: $80 delivers a ton of blast-processing fun," 12 Sep. 2019 Both teams ruined their own chances with controllable errors. Doug Lesmerises,, "Cleveland Browns’ loss both better and worse than you thought -- Can Freddie Kitchens fix it?," 9 Sep. 2019 Luckily, the Internet's sleuthing didn't ruin Robert's chances at the role as Variety reported in June that Robert was confirmed for the role. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "Robert Pattinson Discussed Becoming "Batman” In an Interview with “Variety”," 3 Sep. 2019 Miranda Lambert is living her best newlywed life, and no one is going to ruin it. Rania Aniftos, Billboard, "Miranda Lambert Had the Funniest Response to Hater Who Said Her Marriage Won't Last," 5 Aug. 2019 Lesson learned: Buy a seat the first time it's offered if a middle seat is going to ruin your vacation. Dawn Gilbertson, USA TODAY, "Worried about a middle seat with that basic economy ticket? Reserve a seat ⁠— for a fee," 23 July 2019 Still functioning in the early 19th-century, Notre Dame was battered and half-ruined inside, having survived, as well, its conversion to a storage warehouse. Klara Glowczewska, Town & Country, "Notre Dame Cathedral Will Never Be the Same—and That's Ok," 19 Apr. 2019 This is why Progressives (Retrogressives) ruin cities almost always. Cat Zakrzewski, Washington Post, "The Technology 202: Venture capitalists aren't laughing about Andrew Yang's 'freedom dividend' proposal," 13 Sep. 2019 However, back-to-back losses after that all but ruined Pasadena’s chances of going to the playoffs. Robert Avery, Houston Chronicle, "Pasadena-South Houston series concludes its sixth decade Thursday," 11 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Among Hasankeyf’s treasures are a 13th-century palace of the Artuqid dynasty, a 15th-century mosque and the ruins of a Byzantine citadel. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Turkey Is Moving Forward With Plans to Flood a 10,000-Year-Old City," 12 Sep. 2019 This rocky jumble represents the ruins of a Greenland-size piece of continental crust that was demolished millions of years ago, scientists report this month in the journal Gondwana Research. Robin George Andrews, National Geographic, "Lost continent revealed in new reconstruction of geologic history," 11 Sep. 2019 The ruins of Sac Balam will be far less imposing than the hieroglyphic staircase, and far harder to find. Lizzie Wade, Science | AAAS, "In search of the ‘white Jaguar’: Archaeologists travel deep into the jungle to find a lost Maya city," 5 Sep. 2019 Images include a duel between Rey and Kylo amid a stormy sea (that might be on the ruins of the Death Star). James Hibberd,, "Watch the epic new footage from Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker," 26 Aug. 2019 In this sequel, four teenage girls decide to go scuba diving to explore the ruins of an underwater city off the coast of Brazil. Ramona Sentinel, "Flickers: ‘Angel Has Fallen’ and ‘Overcomer’ open Friday," 20 Aug. 2019 Outside, the moon hangs over the Mediterranean countryside, illuminating the ruins of a 13th-century castle sitting over the village of Momjan. Mary Winston Nicklin, Condé Nast Traveler, "Istria Has All the Beauty of the Mediterranean and None of Croatia's Crowds," 16 Aug. 2019 The ruins of a brick chimney from the home of the community’s 19th-century chief still stand in Africatown today; a few steps away stands a white stone property marker inscribed with the name Meaher. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "What will happen to the last slave ship in the US?," 2 Aug. 2019 According to Jeff Shain of The New York Times, the ruins of Dunluce Castle go all the way back to the 13th century. Khadrice Rollins,, "British Open Course Sits Near Castle Used in Game of Thrones," 17 July 2019

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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Statistics for ruin

Last Updated

3 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ruin

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

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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

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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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fear of the number 13

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