spoil

noun
\ ˈspȯi(-ə)l \

Definition of spoil

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : plunder taken from an enemy in war or from a victim in robbery : loot
b : public offices made the property of a successful party usually used in plural
c : something valuable or desirable gained through special effort or opportunism or in return for a favor 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

spoil

verb
spoiled\ ˈspȯi(-​ə)ld , ˈspȯi(-​ə)lt \ or chiefly British spoilt\ ˈspȯi(-​ə)lt \; spoiling

Definition of spoil (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

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

intransitive verb

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

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Other Words from spoil

Verb

spoilable \ ˈspȯi-​lə-​bəl \ adjective

Synonyms for spoil

Synonyms: Noun

booty, loot, pillage, plunder, swag

Synonyms: Verb

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

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Choose the Right Synonym for spoil

Noun

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

Verb

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

Examples of spoil in a Sentence

Noun

the bandits escaped with their lives but not with the spoils

Verb

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

That leaves the spoils largely to retail investors—one reason why cannabis stocks are so volatile. Carol Ryan, WSJ, "Weed Versus Greed on Wall Street," 25 Jan. 2019 During past visits, Culberson arrived at JPL much as a general returning to a capital city after vanquishing his foes, the spoils of war in tow. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "A congressman’s loss clouds the future of two demanding missions to Europa," 3 Dec. 2018 For the better part of 200 years, roughly between 1600 and 1800, Amsterdam was one of the greatest entrepôts on the face of the earth, a global megastore to which the spoils of empire were shipped and from which they were sold on again. Steve King, Condé Nast Traveler, "Why We Keep Going Back to Amsterdam," 24 Dec. 2018 Woodman’s of Essex No trip to New England would be complete without sampling the spoils of the sea. Leah Bhabha, Vogue, "How to Spend a Fall Weekend on the North Shore of Massachusetts," 15 Oct. 2018 Australia were then the benefactors of a VAR decision to close out the half as a penalty was awarded in retrospect after Yussuf Poulsen was deemed to have handled the ball in the box, where Mile Jedinak converted to result in a share in the spoils. SI.com, "Denmark Boss Confident of Reaching Knockout Stages After Australia Draw But Admits Side Are Fatigued," 21 June 2018 The bigger spoils flow from sprightlier businesses that know how to crunch data. The Economist, "One of China’s poorest provinces wants to be a tech hub," 31 May 2018 After the violence, the Americans took three church bells as spoils of war that Filipinos would demand for decades to be handed back. Jim Gomez, The Seattle Times, "US returns 3 disputed bells taken from Philippines in 1901," 11 Dec. 2018 Most victors get to keep their spoils—but there’s only one Stanley Cup. Stephen Krupin, SI.com, "Capital Thrill: A Former Presidential Speechwriter Finally Gets to Pen His Dream Address," 11 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Although the family was wealthy, the father didn’t want to spoil his sons. Suzanne Kapner, WSJ, "Blake Nordstrom, a Scion of Retail Dynasty, Has Died," 2 Jan. 2019 His younger brother, Will, was graduating that night from Avon High, and Ben didn’t want to spoil his big weekend. Gregg Doyel, Indianapolis Star, "Doyel: Ex-Avon track star Ben Harmon gives cancer a run for its money," 14 June 2018 The operator is naming it after his wife and does not want to spoil the surprise now, said general manager Tom Hannafin. Michael Klein, Philly.com, "Fairmount landmarks Bridgid's and Rembrandt's coming back," 16 May 2018 Augustine lauds the striking beauty of a peacock in full fan and notes that peacock flesh doesn’t spoil as quickly as meat from other birds. Nic Rowan, WSJ, "The Spiritual Life of the Peacock," 20 Dec. 2018 One is God for God is One— One rotten apple spoils the barrel. David Sedaris, The New Yorker, "Who Knows One," 24 Mar. 2018 Andrew's siblings—say that their father spoiled Andrew. Leah Silverman, Town & Country, "Who Was Andrew Cunanan's Father, Modesto 'Pete' Cunanan?," 14 Mar. 2018 Without spoiling what happens, let’s just say that Évolution gets darker and more disturbing as the mysteries unfold. Lincoln Michel, GQ, "Évolution Is the Weirdest Sci-Fi Movie on Netflix," 23 June 2018 Privacy - Terms Pitt happens when you get spoiled, and dumb. Mac Engel, star-telegram, "Pittsburgh's mistake a lesson for TCU, Baylor, Texas Tech and others," 8 Mar. 2018

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

Noun

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

Verb

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

History and Etymology for spoil

Noun

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

Verb

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

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Statistics for spoil

Last Updated

11 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for spoil

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

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More Definitions for spoil

spoil

noun

English Language Learners Definition of spoil

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

spoil

verb

English Language Learners Definition of spoil (Entry 2 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

spoil

verb
\ ˈspȯil \
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.

spoil

noun

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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