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

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web 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 And now Bryant’s attorneys want more time to substantiate Bryant’s allegation that Villanueva’s actions constitute evidence spoliation instead of an attempt to keep the photos out of public circulation. Brent Schrotenboer, USA TODAY, 12 May 2021 Attorneys working for Daugherty discovered that in 2018 and sought to charge the hospital with spoliation of evidence. al, 23 Mar. 2021 The spoliation of evidence claim is related to a box of police overtime audit records that vanished within the department in 2018, court records show. Jennifer Edwards Baker, The Enquirer, 18 Sep. 2020 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'spoliation.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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 2 Dec. 2022.

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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