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


\ 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 spoil (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 More fat has the potential to oxidize and spoil more rapidly. Jack Hennessy, Outdoor Life, "The Ultimate DIY Guide to Making Wild Game Jerky and Snack Sticks," 4 Jan. 2021 Embiid scored 15 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter and grabbed 14 rebounds to lead the Philadelphia 76ers to a 113-107 win over Washington on Wednesday night and spoil Russell Westbrook’s triple-double Wizards debut. Dan Gelston, baltimoresun.com, "Wizards drop season opener to 76ers despite triple double from Westbrook," 24 Dec. 2020 To say any more would spoil all the meta surprises that make Black Bear such a trip. Keaton Bell, Vogue, "Every Movie We're Excited About This December," 15 Dec. 2020 Let go of your expectations of your parents and spoil her. cleveland, "Dear Annie: How can I get my family to appreciate my girlfriend more?," 6 Dec. 2020 Ratigan’s ploys also are creative and involve technology that creates an impostor that could spoil the mouse queen’s jubilee. Dewayne Bevil, orlandosentinel.com, "Disney Plus review: ‘Great Mouse Detective’ clues us in on problem-solving, Sherlock," 18 Sep. 2020 Moreover, mall leases with existing tenants often prohibit the owner from introducing a delivery hub that could spoil the shopping experience, and city officials might not quickly approve an industrial use in a retail area. Bloomberg News, oregonlive, "Amazon plans 1,000 small delivery hubs in cities, neighborhoods across U.S.," 17 Sep. 2020 Moreover, mall leases with existing tenants often prohibit the owner from introducing a delivery hub that could spoil the shopping experience, and city officials might not quickly approve an industrial use in a retail area. Bloomberg Wire, Dallas News, "Amazon plans to put 1,000 warehouses in neighborhoods," 16 Sep. 2020 Eversource Energy declined to pay customers for spoiled food during the recent power outage, but a 40-page draft bill would force electric utilities to pay up to $500 for food or medication that spoil during outages. Christopher Keating, courant.com, "Connecticut lawmakers will tackle school construction, utility accountability in special session later this month," 5 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Over the past century, oil and gas exploration and pipeline construction through the marshes led to the formation of spoil banks -- piles of soil left behind after excavating a site. Halle Parker | Staff Writer, NOLA.com, "Longtime protectors of the Atchafalaya's swamps form coalition, push to join state task force," 25 Dec. 2020 The creation of new land in wetland areas has been assisted by the spoil banks left behind when oil and gas exploration canals were built. Mark Schleifstein, NOLA.com, "Gov. John Bel Edwards creates new Atchafalaya River Basin task force to sort through conflicts," 14 Dec. 2020 Remove as much fat, gristle, fascia—anything but muscle—since fat and other non-muscle parts can oxidize quicker and spoil meat. Jack Hennessy, Outdoor Life, "How to Preserve Your Wild Game When the Power Goes Out," 3 Dec. 2020 The award became a spoil of war over identity politics, doubly here, because not only is Bong South Korean, but Parasite is also in Korean. Soraya Roberts, Longreads, "Wait, What?," 10 Aug. 2020 Alone on a spoil island deep in the Florida Everglades Kimmel had come looking for the invasive python. Kimberly Miller, USA TODAY, "Python hunter alone in Florida Everglades suffers bloody bite, brings home 17-foot snake," 19 June 2020 For those of you who are yet to finish Netflix's Sweet Magnolias, be aware of the spoil alert within. Perri Ormont Blumberg, Southern Living, "Here's How Author Sherryl Woods Reacted to the Dramatic Sweet Magnolias Season 1 Finale on Netflix," 16 June 2020 However, with the 20 Premier League clubs sharing the spoils of the current multi-billion dollar TV rights deal, many questioned why the players -- who earn on average £3 million ($3.7 million) per year -- weren't helping foot the bill. Richard Quest, CNN, "English Premier League players 'thrown under a PR bus' by clubs, says Gary Lineker," 3 Apr. 2020 Taiwan was taken as a spoil of war by Japan in 1895. Doug Bandow, National Review, "The U.S. Should Offer Taiwan a Free-Trade Agreement," 23 Mar. 2020

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

11 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Spoil.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spoil. Accessed 21 Jan. 2021.

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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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