spo·​li·​a·​tion ˌspō-lē-ˈā-shən How to pronounce spoliation (audio)
: the act of plundering
: the state of having been plundered especially in war
: the act of injuring especially beyond reclaim

Examples of spoliation in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The West should also prepare for a Russia that inflicts even greater spoliation on a global scale—but not drive it to do so. Stephen Kotkin, Foreign Affairs, 18 Apr. 2024 Epic filed a motion to sanction Google for alleged spoliation of evidence in October. Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica, 21 Mar. 2023 The motion for spoliation sanctions is the latest move in the lawsuit by the widow of Kobe Bryant for severe emotional distress after learning that deputies and firefighters shared gruesome images of the crash scene where her husband, daughter Gianna and seven others died in January 2020. Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times, 8 Nov. 2021 There is usually an artist somewhere at the bottom of that story of spoliation. New York Times, 19 Apr. 2022 Members of the Isle de Jean Charles band of the Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw Tribe, the Pointe-au-Chien Tribe, and the Houma Nation experienced the spoliation of their current and ancestral homes. Anya Groner, The Atlantic, 13 Oct. 2021 The audit's Twitter account strikes a different tone, accusing the county of deleting election databases and spoliation of evidence. Staff Reports, The Arizona Republic, 25 Sep. 2021 The suit accuses Gladney of assault, battery, false imprisonment and spoliation of evidence. Brent Schrotenboer, USA TODAY, 30 July 2021 On Wednesday, the auditors' Twitter account alleged Maricopa County deleted a directory full of election databases before the election equipment was delivered to the audit, claiming spoliation of evidence. Carrie Watters, The Arizona Republic, 16 May 2021

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'spoliation.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English, from Anglo-French spoliacion, Latin spoliation-, spoliatio, from spoliare to plunder — more at spoil entry 1

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of spoliation was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near spoliation

Cite this Entry

“Spoliation.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spoliation. Accessed 20 Jun. 2024.

Legal Definition


spo·​li·​a·​tion ˌspō-lē-ˈā-shən How to pronounce spoliation (audio)
: the destruction, alteration, or mutilation of evidence especially by a party for whom the evidence is damaging
: alteration or mutilation of an instrument (as a will) by one who is not a party to the instrument
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