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 These will happen naturally and therefore will teach the lessons better than will a deliberate effort (under duress) to, say, preempt the spoiling you fear is happening under your nose. Carolyn Hax, Detroit Free Press, "3-year-old son wants to be held constantly," 26 Oct. 2019 These will happen naturally and therefore will teach the lessons better than will a deliberate effort (under duress) to, say, preempt the spoiling you fear is happening under your nose. Carolyn Hax, oregonlive, "Carolyn Hax: Parent done with constantly carrying 3-year-old toddler," 26 Oct. 2019 These will happen naturally and therefore will teach the lessons better than will a deliberate effort (under duress) to, say, preempt the spoiling you fear is happening under your nose. Carolyn Hax, Washington Post, "Carolyn Hax: Can a 3-year-old who always wants to be held ever hold his own?," 25 Oct. 2019 Look for the Jazz to spoil the Lakers’ home opener. Marcus Mosher, USA TODAY Sportsbook Wire, "Utah Jazz vs Los Angeles Lakers odds, picks and best bets," 25 Oct. 2019 So our reviewers gathered their favorite tech—from smart collars to dog treats—to spoil the pup in your life. Wired, "A Wildfire Vaccine, Elon's New Starship, and More News," 30 Sep. 2019 Soderbergh displays the physical effects of tax avoidance in a sequence of a dazzling, Rube Goldberg-esque contrivance that’s too good to spoil. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, "“The Laundromat,” Reviewed: Steven Soderbergh’s Flawed, Thrilling Tale of Financial Greed," 27 Sep. 2019 What follows is a review that will attempt to spoil nothing that wasn't already revealed in the trailers. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Ad Astra: A journey upriver to meet your demons, internal and otherwise," 20 Sep. 2019 Thanks to three touchdown tosses from quarterback Matthew Rueve to Marshall Long, the Bombers escaped enemy territory with a 21-14 victory to spoil Shawn Cutright's home debut. James Weber, Cincinnati.com, "Week 2 takeaways: Turnarounds continue for Hamilton, Talawanda; Mr. Football showdown," 8 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Under Iraq’s political system, power is split among parties based on sect, and economic spoils are divided accordingly. Washington Post, "An uprising in Iraq is the broadest in decades. It’s posing an alarming threat to Baghdad and Tehran.," 7 Nov. 2019 So Syrian property is not enemy property that might be taken, even for military purposes, as spoils of war,’’ said Sarah H. Cleveland, a professor of human and constitutional rights at Columbia Law School. BostonGlobe.com, "Trump’s desire for Syrian oil fraught with legal problems," 29 Oct. 2019 Memeification doesn’t necessarily return any spoils to the thing memed. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, "Video Games Are Better Without Game-Play," 22 Oct. 2019 The National Coal Board has been blamed for the event—the spoil tip was built atop a foundation that included streams and springs, which had contributed to previous, smaller slides down the hill. The Editors, Marie Claire, "'The Crown' Tackles the Aberfan Disaster," 18 Oct. 2019 Businesses lose business, food spoils in warming fridges, and critical infrastructure goes offline. Wired, "Power Shutoffs Can’t Save California From Wildfire Hell," 8 Oct. 2019 Mariano’s parent company Kroger is rolling out a new avocado for sale with a spoil-resistant skin designed to prolong the life of the favorite fruit of lifelong renters everywhere. Chicago Tribune Staff, chicagotribune.com, "tl;dr: longer-lasting avocados, flying with marijuana is complicated and global warming is ruining #basic fall fun," 19 Sep. 2019 The sizzle reel, filmed at Peggy's multimillion-dollar Fort Lauderdale mansion, showcased the spoils of an accomplished life. Alex Prewitt, SI.com, "She Won Athletes' Hearts. And Robbed Them Blind," 19 Sep. 2019 The Sopranos continually punished its characters—and its viewers—for fetishizing the spoils of criminality, bludgeoning us with their moral and psychological costs. Adam Wilson, Harper's magazine, "Good Bad Bad Good," 16 Sep. 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

19 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Spoil.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spoilt. Accessed 22 November 2019.

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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

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