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 When your gums are irritated, this opens them up for infection, which can, in turn, ruin your teeth. Courtney Schmidt,, 3 June 2021 Any of her cast members appearing on BiP would ruin her season's outcome. Martha Sorren,, 31 May 2021 Moore will eventually ruin the cast’s fun and make the episode by asking its title question, launching a poolside inquisition into the torrid events of the night. Anna Peele, Vulture, 14 Apr. 2021 The PGA Tour’s main argument was that walking the golf course was an integral part of the tournament, and that letting Martin ride a golf cart would fundamentally ruin it. Douglas Wigdor, Forbes, 2 June 2021 Unlike in Europe, where pregnant women were reassured that light drinking remained safe, those in the U.S. were, and are, essentially warned that a drop of wine could ruin a baby’s life. Kate Julian, The Atlantic, 1 June 2021 Critics of the bill say its provisions, which include new charges and lower credits for power shared with the grid, could ruin California’s rooftop solar market. J.d. Morris, San Francisco Chronicle, 19 May 2021 At the time, Donner worried a bad review from Yohner could ruin her chance at a career in law enforcement. James Barragán, Dallas News, 14 May 2021 Both would have direct pipelines to Trump and national Republicans and would seek advice from them, which would ruin Arkansas and set us back to the Dark Ages! Arkansas Online, 25 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Across the street from the lots stands the giant, crumbling ruin of what was once a factory. Morgan Meis, The New Yorker, 8 June 2021 That means clubs must annually spend big to develop and buy talent, an endless cycle that has driven even the wealthiest, most successful clubs to the brink of financial ruin. Kevin Baxter, Los Angeles Times, 11 May 2021 That medical bills can lead to financial ruin is no secret. Robert Pearl, Star Tribune, 23 May 2021 Keenan said the past year has brought, along with tragedy and economic ruin, its fair share of absurdity and insight into human nature. Richard Ruelas, The Arizona Republic, 19 Mar. 2021 Many cattle and sheep ranchers are foretelling economic ruin. Morgan Heim, Smithsonian Magazine, 16 Mar. 2021 The country today is consumed by poverty, disease and economic ruin. Christian C. Sahner, WSJ, 11 Mar. 2021 Because all of these assumptions are truly heroic, adding nuclear detonations to conventional warfare is fraught with the great risk of losing everything a leader holds dear, including cities that are reduced to smoldering, radioactive ruin. Michael Krepon, Forbes, 4 Mar. 2021 Williams counters that the Democrat would lead the U.S. on the path to financial ruin and outright socialism. Tom Benning, Dallas News, 23 Oct. 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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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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Statistics for ruin

Last Updated

15 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Ruin.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jun. 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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