1

spoil

noun \ ˈspȯi(-ə)l \
Updated on: 10 Nov 2017

Definition of spoil

1 a : 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

Examples of spoil in a Sentence

  1. the bandits escaped with their lives but not with the spoils

Recent Examples of spoil from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of spoil

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

spoil Synonyms

Synonym Discussion of spoil

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

2

spoil

verb

Definition of spoil

spoiled play \ˈspȯi(-ə)ld, ˈspȯi(-ə)lt\ or chiefly British spoilt play \ˈspȯi(-ə)lt\; spoiling
transitive verb
1 a archaic : despoil, strip
b : pillage, rob
2 archaic : to seize by force
3 a : to damage seriously : ruin
b : to impair the quality or effect of
  • a quarrel spoiled the celebration
4 a : 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

spoilable

play \ˈspȯi-lə-bəl\ adjective

Examples of spoil in a Sentence

  1. The fight spoiled the party.

  2. The camping trip was spoiled by bad weather.

  3. Don't let one mistake spoil your day.

  4. Don't spoil your appetite by snacking too much.

  5. Exposure to air will spoil the wine.

  6. I spoiled the sauce by adding too much garlic.

  7. The milk was beginning to spoil.

  8. The hotel spoils their guests with fine dining and excellent service.

  9. She always spoils me on my birthday.

  10. You should spoil yourself with a day at the spa.

Recent Examples of spoil from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of spoil

Middle English, from Anglo-French espuiller, espoiller, from Latin spoliare to strip of natural covering, despoil, from spolium skin, hide — more at spill

Synonym Discussion of 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 Defined for English Language Learners

spoil

noun

Definition of spoil for English Language Learners

  • : something stolen or taken by thieves, soldiers, etc.

  • : something valuable or desirable that someone gets by working or trying hard


spoil

verb

Definition of spoil for English Language Learners

  • : 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 Defined for Kids

1

spoil

verb \ ˈspȯil \

Definition of spoil for Students

spoiled \ˈspȯild\ or spoilt \ˈspȯilt\; spoiling
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.

2

spoil

noun

Definition of spoil for Students

: stolen goods : plunder


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