spoiled\ ˈspȯi(-​ə)ld How to pronounce spoiled (audio) , ˈspȯi(-​ə)lt \ or chiefly British spoilt\ ˈspȯi(-​ə)lt How to pronounce spoilt (audio) \; spoiling

Definition of spoil

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to damage seriously : ruin
b : to impair the quality or effect of a quarrel spoiled the celebration
2a : to impair the disposition or character of by overindulgence or excessive praise
b : to pamper excessively : coddle
3a : pillage, rob
b archaic : despoil, strip
4 archaic : to seize by force

intransitive verb

1 : to lose valuable or useful qualities usually as a result of decay the fruit spoiled
2 : to have an eager desire spoiling for a fight
3 : to practice plunder and robbery


\ ˈspȯi(-ə)l How to pronounce spoil (audio) \

Definition of spoil (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : plunder taken from an enemy in war or from a victim in robbery : loot
b : something valuable or desirable gained through special effort or opportunism or in return for a favor usually used in plural
c : public offices made the property of a successful party usually used in plural
b : the act of damaging : harm, impairment
3 : an object of plundering : prey
4 : earth and rock excavated or dredged
5 : an object damaged or flawed in the making

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Other Words from spoil


spoilable \ ˈspȯi-​lə-​bəl How to pronounce spoilable (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for spoil

Synonyms: Verb

blemish, darken, mar, poison, stain, taint, tarnish, touch, vitiate

Synonyms: Noun

booty, loot, pillage, plunder, swag

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Choose the Right Synonym for spoil


decay, decompose, rot, putrefy, spoil mean to undergo destructive dissolution. decay implies a slow change from a state of soundness or perfection. a decaying mansion decompose stresses a breaking down by chemical change and when applied to organic matter a corruption. the strong odor of decomposing vegetation rot is a close synonym of decompose and often connotes foulness. fruit was left to rot in warehouses putrefy implies the rotting of animal matter and offensiveness to sight and smell. corpses putrefying on the battlefield spoil applies chiefly to the decomposition of foods. keep the ham from spoiling

indulge, pamper, humor, spoil, baby, mollycoddle mean to show undue favor to a person's desires and feelings. indulge implies excessive compliance and weakness in gratifying another's or one's own desires. indulged myself with food at the slightest excuse pamper implies inordinate gratification of desire for luxury and comfort with consequent enervating effect. pampered by the amenities of modern living humor stresses a yielding to a person's moods or whims. humored him by letting him tell the story spoil stresses the injurious effects on character by indulging or pampering. foolish parents spoil their children baby suggests excessive care, attention, or solicitude. babying students by grading too easily mollycoddle suggests an excessive degree of care and attention to another's health or welfare. refused to mollycoddle her malingering son


spoil, plunder, booty, prize, loot mean something taken from another by force or craft. spoil, more commonly spoils, applies to what belongs by right or custom to the victor in war or political contest. the spoils of political victory plunder applies to what is taken not only in war but in robbery, banditry, grafting, or swindling. a bootlegger's plunder booty implies plunder to be shared among confederates. thieves dividing up their booty prize applies to spoils captured on the high seas or territorial waters of the enemy. the wartime right of seizing prizes at sea loot applies especially to what is taken from victims of a catastrophe. picked through the ruins for loot

Examples of spoil in a Sentence


The fight spoiled the party. The camping trip was spoiled by bad weather. Don't let one mistake spoil your day. Don't spoil your appetite by snacking too much. Exposure to air will spoil the wine. I spoiled the sauce by adding too much garlic. The milk was beginning to spoil. The hotel spoils their guests with fine dining and excellent service. She always spoils me on my birthday. You should spoil yourself with a day at the spa.


the bandits escaped with their lives but not with the spoils
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Baby Elizabeth is spoiled and loved by the whole Monkeewrench gang when Grace brings her to work. Mary Ann Grossmann, Twin Cities, "3 new fall books: Moving to Minnesota, a moving Muslim story and Monkeewrench," 8 Sep. 2019 The Eagles couldn’t hold it, however, and the Engineers rallied for a 34-31 victory to spoil Will Thompson’s first game as FSK’s coach. Pat Stoetzer, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "Football: Francis Scott Key can’t hold lead in opener, Poly prevails," 7 Sep. 2019 Holy smokes, cats ’n’ kittens, we are spoiled for choice this week in The 'Nati. Luann Gibbs, Cincinnati.com, "Things to do this week in Cincinnati: Aug. 26-Sept. 2," 26 Aug. 2019 The last few weeks have seen the cast of the series doing their best not to spoil the sixth season of the show, which premieres Sunday, August 25. Sydney Scott, Essence, "Larenz Tate Describes Why The Final Season Of 'Power' Is Jaw-Dropping," 23 Aug. 2019 At Phillips Field House, new South Houston head coach Krystal Anderson’s debut was spoiled by Channelview as the Lady Falcons cruised to a 25-12, 25-18, 25-14 victory. Robert Avery, Houston Chronicle, "Lady Mavs win volleyball season opener, Trojans fall to Channelview," 6 Aug. 2019 Nothing would be sweeter for Pitt than spoiling the Nittany Lions’ season, especially in Happy Valley, in what could be the last meeting between the schools for a long time. C.j. Doon, baltimoresun.com, "Can Maryland and Penn State preserve their ranked matchup? Most intriguing college football questions for Week 3," 13 Sep. 2019 Vinegars Because of its inherent acidity, vinegar doesn’t technically spoil. Jesse Sparks, Bon Appétit, "9 Pantry Staples You Probably Need to Replace," 3 Sep. 2019 Beer warmed and meat spoiled, sometimes before camp was set. Louis Mazzante //, Popular Mechanics, "How the Yeti Tundra Became the Coolest Cooler," 1 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Emery has won just one of those, with the pair sharing the spoils four times. SI.com, "Unai Emery Reveals Javi Gracia Learned of Watford Sacking During Chance Meeting in Spain," 15 Sep. 2019 That includes making a run for the Sunset League spoils after going winless last year in league play. Daily Pilot, "High School Football Player of the Week: Behind Chad Koste, Newport Harbor is off to best start since 2010," 12 Sep. 2019 The result in the U.S. has been mounting income inequality, as the wealthiest Americans gain a growing share of the nation's economic spoils. Aimee Picchi, CBS News, "Economist Piketty's latest book a 1,200 page tome about abolishing billionaires," 12 Sep. 2019 The weekend was good overall: on Saturday night, Warners' edgy superhero pic The Joker took him top spoils at the Venice Film Festival. Pamela Mcclintock, The Hollywood Reporter, "Box Office: 'It: Chapter Two' Terrifies With $91M U.S. Debut," 8 Sep. 2019 But the accelerated efforts are now stalled as Republican lawmakers fight over whose constituents will get the spoils of the lucrative program. Tim Fernholz, Quartz, "Trump’s 5-year moon landing plan has gone off the rails," 19 Aug. 2019 Kwan, by contrast, is calm, controlled and thoughtful, more likely to keep to the shadows than show off the spoils of his success. The Economist, "Kevin Kwan, the quiet man behind “Crazy Rich Asians”," 9 Aug. 2019 For two days in Cleveland, Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora reaped the spoils of his team’s accomplishment in 2018. Andy Mccullough, latimes.com, "Defending World Series champion Red Sox still feared despite early stumble," 13 July 2019 Substitute Lucas Moura equalised once again for Spurs with his first touch, but the drama took over at the end and ensured a share of the spoils. SI.com, "Man City 2-2 Spurs: Report, Ratings & Reaction as VAR Rules Out Late City Winner," 17 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'spoil.' 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 spoil


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 3b


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for spoil


Middle English, from Anglo-French espuiller, espoiller, from Latin spoliare to strip of natural covering, despoil, from spolium skin, hide — more at spill entry 1


Middle English spoile, from Anglo-French espuille, from espuiller

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Statistics for spoil

Last Updated

8 Oct 2019

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Time Traveler for spoil

The first known use of spoil was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for spoil



English Language Learners Definition of spoil

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to have a bad effect on (something) : to damage or ruin (something)
: to decay or lose freshness especially because of being kept too long
disapproving : to give (someone, such as a child) everything that he or she wants : to have a bad effect on (someone) by allowing too many things or by not correcting bad behavior



English Language Learners Definition of spoil (Entry 2 of 2)

: something stolen or taken by thieves, soldiers, etc.
: something valuable or desirable that someone gets by working or trying hard


\ ˈspȯil How to pronounce spoil (audio) \
spoiled\ ˈspȯild \ or spoilt\ ˈspȯilt \; spoiling

Kids Definition of spoil

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to damage the character of by allowing too many things or not correcting bad behavior Grandparents sometimes spoil a child.
2 : to damage badly : ruin Frost spoiled the crop.
3 : to damage the quality or effect of A quarrel spoiled the celebration.
4 : to decay or lose freshness, value, or usefulness by being kept too long The milk spoiled.



Kids Definition of spoil (Entry 2 of 2)

: stolen goods : plunder

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More from Merriam-Webster on spoil

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with spoil

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for spoil

Spanish Central: Translation of spoil

Nglish: Translation of spoil for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of spoil for Arabic Speakers

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to be made up of

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