spoil

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

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 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 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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from spoil

Verb

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

Synonyms for spoil

Synonyms: Noun

booty, loot, pillage, plunder, swag

Synonyms: Verb

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

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The forward fired home a wonderful free kick with the lack kick of the match to hand the hosts a share of the spoils and, in an interview with BBC Sport following the clash, Puel lauded Mahrez's contribution in rescuing a result for the Foxes. SI.com, "Leicester Boss Puel Lauds Riyad Mahrez Over Last-Gasp Equaliser in 1-1 Draw With Bournemouth," 4 Mar. 2018 Also in the opposition are career bandits of the political class, who have shared for years in the spoils of corruption no matter who was at the helm. Mary Anastasia O’grady, WSJ, "Power and Money in Venezuela," 10 Feb. 2019 When the duo beat him to his own plan to double-cross them, the multimillion-dollar spoils go missing—and stay so for decades. Tom Nolan, WSJ, "Mysteries: Taking a Journey Into the Past," 13 Sep. 2018 Rather than see the spoils go to Disney, Roberts wants to fortify Comcast with the Fox assets to better compete with Netflix and other tech giants that are invading the television space. Meg James, latimes.com, "Brian Roberts has been the force behind Comcast's growth. Now he's in the hunt for Fox," 10 June 2018 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The insurance giant has once again seen its fourth-quarter earnings announcement spoiled by a surprise buildup in reserves on its property and casualty book. Aaron Back, WSJ, "Investors Need Proof AIG Has Changed," 14 Feb. 2019 There are many different types of weeds that can spoil a lush, green lawn: crabgrass, dandelions, white clover, quack grass, wood sorrel, bindweed, broad-leaf plantain, cinquefoil and creeping charley to name a few. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, "How to Get Rid of Lawn Weeds," 19 Apr. 2019 Thank you for always making me feel special, loved, and spoiled! Mackenzie Dunn, Woman's Day, "Here's What Mom Wants to See In Her Mother's Day Card," 16 Apr. 2019 There’s just one conflict spoiling the party here and that’s the on-screen keyboard. Vlad Savov, The Verge, "OnePlus 6T review: revised formula, same results," 29 Oct. 2018 The Christmas fairs are kind of a waste and spoil entirely the Piazza Navona. Nina Sovich, WSJ, "Europe in Winter: 35 Reasons to Visit Off-Season," 21 Nov. 2018 Still, Bolsonaro’s voters were more supportive of democracy than those who planned to abstain or spoil their ballots. Amy Erica Smith, Mollie Cohen, Matthew Layton, Vox, "Did Brazilians vote against democracy on Sunday?," 30 Oct. 2018 But after a few uncharacteristic outings that spoiled his spectacular start to the season, Bundy is back to the form where his starts being appointment viewing is an expectation for him, too. Jon Meoli, baltimoresun.com, "Bundy stellar again but Orioles fall to Red Sox, 2-0, on sac flies off Givens in 12th inning," 12 June 2018 Without going into details that would spoil key aspects of the show, other elements of the prosecution proved even more problematic. Maureen Ryan, New York Times, "‘The Staircase’ on Netflix Revisits a Genre-Defining Trial," 7 June 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about spoil

Statistics for spoil

Last Updated

8 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for spoil

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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 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

Keep scrolling for more

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

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).

WORD OF THE DAY

a strong desire or propensity

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Vocabulary Quiz Returns!

  • stylized drawing of woman pole vaulting across gap to get trophy
  • Which is a synonym of fuliginous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!