spoil

verb
\ ˈspȯi(-ə)l How to pronounce spoil (audio) \
spoiled\ ˈspȯi(-​ə)ld How to pronounce spoil (audio) , ˈspȯi(-​ə)lt \ or chiefly British spoilt\ ˈspȯi(-​ə)lt How to pronounce spoil (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

spoil

noun

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

Other Words from spoil

Verb

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

Synonyms for spoil

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

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Choose the Right Synonym for spoil

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

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

Examples of spoil in a Sentence

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. Noun the bandits escaped with their lives but not with the spoils
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The No Way Home cast participated in a video campaign urging fans not to spoil the movie's surprises for other fans after seeing the movie. Benjamin Vanhoose, PEOPLE.com, 28 Dec. 2021 Legendary animator Chuck Jones directed the story about a green-skinned grouch who sets out to spoil Christmas for the citizens of Whoville. Los Angeles Times, 25 Dec. 2021 That won’t spoil anything except hopes for a conventional big finish Zhao has no interest in delivering. Michael Phillips, chicagotribune.com, 2 Nov. 2021 The highly contagious variant is threatening to spoil the summer for Europe’s south, whose economies depend on tourists from across Europe, the U.S. and elsewhere. Matthew Dalton, WSJ, 9 July 2021 The state Elections Commission sent a memo to clerks on Oct. 19, 2020, instructing them how to spoil absentee ballots for voters who wanted to vote in person. Haley Bemiller, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 11 Nov. 2020 The state Elections Commission sent a memo to clerks on Oct. 19, 2020, instructing them how to spoil absentee ballots for voters who wanted to vote in person. Haley Bemiller, USA TODAY, 18 Oct. 2016 There are any number of outside events that could spoil the U.S. economy’s strength, including new variants of the coronavirus, a stock market swoon and China’s slowdown. Nick Timiraos, WSJ, 12 Dec. 2021 But the news is being overshadowed by reports that Washington could spoil the party by adding SenseTime to another trading blacklist. Michelle Toh, CNN, 10 Dec. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Not only are algae and zooplankton affected, but now apex predators such as killer whales are moving into areas once locked away by ice — gaining unfettered access to a spoil of riches. Susanne Rust, Anchorage Daily News, 26 Dec. 2021 Not only are algae and zooplankton affected, but now apex predators such as killer whales are moving into areas once locked away by ice — gaining unfettered access to a spoil of riches. Los Angeles Times, 17 Dec. 2021 A day earlier, in Herat, Taliban fighters rushed past the Great Mosque in the historic city — a structure that dates to 500 BC and was once a spoil of Alexander the Great — and seized government buildings. Katie Rice, orlandosentinel.com, 13 Aug. 2021 In Herat, Taliban fighters rushed past the Great Mosque in the historic city — a structure that dates to 500 BC and was once a spoil of Alexander the Great — and seized government buildings. Andrea RodrÍguez, ajc, 13 Aug. 2021 In Herat, Taliban fighters rushed past the Great Mosque in the historic city — a structure that dates to 500 BC and was once a spoil of Alexander the Great — and seized government buildings. BostonGlobe.com, 13 Aug. 2021 A day earlier, in Herat, Taliban fighters rushed past the Great Mosque in the historic city — a structure that dates to 500 BC and was once a spoil of Alexander the Great — and seized government buildings. Anchorage Daily News, 13 Aug. 2021 A day earlier, in Herat, Taliban fighters rushed past the Great Mosque in the historic city — a structure that dates to 500 BC and was once a spoil of Alexander the Great — and seized government buildings. USA TODAY, 13 Aug. 2021 So carrot cakes or zucchini bread spoil within about five days. Ruth S. Macdonald, The Conversation, 21 July 2021

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

Verb

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

Noun

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

History and Etymology for spoil

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

Noun

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

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Time Traveler for spoil

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near spoil

spoffish

spoil

spoilage

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Statistics for spoil

Last Updated

11 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Spoil.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spoil. Accessed 16 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for spoil

spoil

verb

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
: 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

noun

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

spoil

verb
\ 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.

spoil

noun

Kids Definition of spoil (Entry 2 of 2)

: stolen goods : plunder

More from Merriam-Webster on spoil

Nglish: Translation of spoil for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of spoil for Arabic Speakers

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