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

Synonyms: Noun

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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

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 Sanford, now 27, was released from prison in 2016 after prosecutors said the case was spoiled by police misconduct. Ed White, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit wrongful conviction case takes strange twist with blood on shoe test," 10 Jan. 2020 Mayfield was sacked for a 10-yard loss on third down to spoil the drive. Mary Kay Cabot, cleveland, "Freddie Kitchens may be one and done after the Browns’ 33-23 loss to the 2-14 Bengals to fall to 6-10," 29 Dec. 2019 Light spoilers ahead — but these movies are so predictable, there’s not too much to be spoiled. Tribune News Service, oregonlive, "Your guide to all of Netflix’s new holiday movies for 2019," 24 Dec. 2019 But even a person who's first to all the innovative skin-care trends or the most high-tech hot tools for hair needs to be spoiled once in a while. Allure, "24 Unique Gift Ideas for the Person Who Has Everything," 20 Nov. 2019 Case Keenum, the quarterback Cousins replaced, had his return to Minnesota spoiled by a concussion that kept him out of the second half. Dave Campbell, orlandosentinel.com, "Dalvin Cook, Vikings wear down Redskins 19-9 for 4th straight win," 25 Oct. 2019 Case Keenum, the quarterback Cousins replaced, had his return to Minnesota spoiled by a concussion that kept him out of the second half and thrust rookie Dwayne Haskins back into action. Dave Campbell, The Denver Post, "Vikings wear down Redskins 19-9 for 4th straight win," 24 Oct. 2019 Case Keenum, the quarterback Cousins replaced, had his return to Minnesota spoiled by a concussion that kept him out of the second half. Dave Campbell, chicagotribune.com, "Dalvin Cook and the Vikings wear down the Redskins 19-9 for their 4th straight win," 24 Oct. 2019 As has become standard in game-announcement surprises, today's Overwatch news was spoiled by a leak. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Nintendo Switch will finally get SNES games—20 of them—starting tomorrow," 4 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Bougainville — which a French admiral named after himself in 1768 — was one of Papua New Guinea’s richest provinces until a civil war broke out in 1989 over the spoils of wealth generated by the world’s third-largest copper mine. BostonGlobe.com, "SYDNEY — A Pacific island chain with a bloody recent past has taken its first formal steps to becoming the world’s newest nation, seeking to forge a path to prosperity in a region where Western powers are increasingly concerned about China’s burgeoning influence.," 15 Dec. 2019 Both have power-sharing constitutions or political pacts that attempt to keep the peace by dividing spoils of the state, government roles and administrative positions, and parliamentary seats along ethno-sectarian lines. Bessma Momani, Time, "A New Arab Spring Is Unfolding in Iraq and Lebanon. But Things Could Get Bloody If Iran Gets Its Way," 7 Nov. 2019 Their 2-1 defeat against Juventus and share of the spoils with Parma last month haven't derailed their domestic campaign, spurring them on instead. SI.com, "Borussia Dortmund vs Inter Preview: Where to Watch, Live Stream, Kick Off Time & Team News," 4 Nov. 2019 When those machines were turned on, all would (in theory) enjoy the spoils. Gregory Barber, Wired, "This Alleged Bitcoin Scam Looked a Lot Like a Pyramid Scheme," 10 Dec. 2019 Normal that businesspeople should try to make as much money as possible by paying as little as possible in taxes and wages, then donate a fraction of the spoils to PR-friendly social causes. Anand Giridharadas, Time, "How America’s Elites Lost Their Grip," 21 Nov. 2019 Whatever the reason, when Clifford hit tight end Dave Harangody for a touchdown with 55 seconds left, Indiana looked poised to leave Ann Arbor with a share of the spoils. Zach Osterman, Indianapolis Star, "1979 Holiday Bowl oral history: Bolstered by trip to Tijuana and timely prayer, IU stunned BYU," 23 Oct. 2019 Napoli have enjoyed the spoils on the majority of occasions with 12 victories, while Hellas Verona have only managed four. SI.com, "Napoli vs Hellas Verona Preview: Where to Watch, Live Stream, Kick Off Time & Team News," 17 Oct. 2019 Al Iacobelli , Fiat Chrysler’s chief negotiator against the UAW, also enjoyed the spoils and is serving a 5 ½-year sentence. Washington Post, "FBI searches Detroit-area home of UAW president," 28 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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Time Traveler for spoil

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for spoil

Last Updated

15 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Spoil.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spoiled. Accessed 17 January 2020.

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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


How to pronounce spoil (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for spoil

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with spoil

Spanish Central: Translation of spoil

Nglish: Translation of spoil for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of spoil for Arabic Speakers

Comments on spoil

What made you want to look up spoil? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a plan in which a last survivor takes all

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