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 Much like the name implies, Paranoia is the perfectly destructive way to find out your friends’ true perception of you — and guaranteed to ruin a few friendships. Claire Hambrick,, 11 Aug. 2022 Booksmart's Kaitlyn Dever stars as Rosaline, the heartbroken ex of Romeo (played by Kyle Allen) who schemes to ruin his new budding relationship with Juliet (played by Isabela Merced). Benjamin Vanhoose, Peoplemag, 11 Aug. 2022 But Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi decided to ruin Samsung’s foldable party with the Mix Fold 2 teasers in anticipation of its own launch event on Thursday. Chris Smith, BGR, 9 Aug. 2022 But the good fortunes of some have turned into bad luck for others, whose wealth would lead them to ruin. Timothy Bella, Washington Post, 30 July 2022 The bottom line is that loot boxes provide another avenue for the vulnerable to ruin their lives. Wired, 29 July 2022 At the same time, Saban seemed to think NIL collectives are going to ruin college sports. Joseph Goodman |, al, 20 July 2022 The plot featured Love's character, Celess, and friend Tina (Erica Pinkett) as a personal secret was at risk — one that threatened to ruin their reputations. Kelly Wynne,, 15 July 2022 The series is based on investigative journalist Martyn Gregory's book Dirty Tricks, which chronicled a massive scandal in the early '90s in which British Airways attempted to ruin Branson's airline, Virgin Atlantic. Keith Langston,, 15 July 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Her greedy father sees his daughter as his path out of financial ruin by marrying her off to a wealthy man for money and land. Etan Vlessing, The Hollywood Reporter, 25 July 2022 Financially destitute and utterly greedy, Rollo sees his daughter as his path out of financial ruin by marrying her off to a wealthy man for money and land. Rebecca Rubin, Variety, 18 May 2022 This is what happened in 2020, when, at the risk of financial ruin, the Haas Formula 1 team accepted sponsorship from a Russian fertilizer mogul named Dmitry Mazepin. Carrie Battan, The New Yorker, 11 Mar. 2022 Pollock’s ruin merged with movie star James Dean’s, also killed in a wreck. Los Angeles Times, 25 July 2022 In the summer of 2007, Donald Trump—his businesses in ruin, hanging on to relevance for dear life via The Apprentice—cut an advertisement to introduce his newest namesake product. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, 9 May 2022 The footage shows a person walking through a hallway, passing room after room in ruin. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, 9 Mar. 2022 Twenty years ago, the medieval watchtower was a ruin. Rebecca Ann Hughes, Forbes, 15 July 2022 Indeed, the ruin made way for a kind of renewal, one that rejects, if only for a fleeting season, the feedback loop of sameness and reaches for something delightfully strange. Christopher Barnard, Vogue, 28 May 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

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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Dictionary Entries Near ruin



ruin agate

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Statistics for ruin

Last Updated

14 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Ruin.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Aug. 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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