ru·​in·​ous ˈrü-ə-nəs How to pronounce ruinous (audio)
: causing or tending to cause ruin
ruinously adverb
ruinousness noun

Examples of ruinous in a Sentence

The house has fallen into a ruinous state. a ruinous miscalculation of the financial markets left them bankrupt
Recent Examples on the Web Ironically, the coronavirus pandemic, ruinous to many restaurants, propelled Finigan to creative maturity. Kevin West, Travel + Leisure, 5 May 2024 Exactly a year ago, Sudan’s ruinous collapse began. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, 15 Apr. 2024 On the face of it, that figure seems to imply that paying a fine even as large as nearly half a billion dollars shouldn’t be ruinous to him. John Cassidy, The New Yorker, 19 Mar. 2024 It’s been almost a year since a ruinous civil war flared in Sudan. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, 1 Apr. 2024 What happened next that morning was stupid, unnecessary and shameful, and a horrific reminder that getting into tiffs while driving can have tragic, ruinous consequences. Robin Abcarian, The Mercury News, 1 Feb. 2024 The Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein survived ruinous wars against Iran and Kuwait. Timothy Frye, Foreign Affairs, 25 Mar. 2024 López Obrador, a lifelong leftist, developed a surprisingly strong bond with Trump, who threatened during his presidency to impose ruinous tariffs on Mexican imports to the United States if Mexico did not crack down on U.S.-bound migrants traversing its territory. Patrick J. McDonnell, Los Angeles Times, 20 Mar. 2024 The palm oil dispute also encapsulates a central tension in the economics of climate change: the argument that lower- and middle-income nations are being compelled to bear the cost of ruinous environmental shifts caused mostly by the world’s wealthiest nations. Patricia Cohen Jes Aznar, New York Times, 14 Mar. 2024

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

Word History

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of ruinous was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near ruinous

Cite this Entry

“Ruinous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


ru·​in·​ous ˈrü-ə-nəs How to pronounce ruinous (audio)
: causing or tending to cause ruin : destructive
ruinously adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on ruinous

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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