spo·​li·​a·​tion | \ ˌspō-lē-ˈā-shən How to pronounce spoliation (audio) \

Definition of spoliation

1a : the act of plundering
b : the state of having been plundered especially in war
2 : the act of injuring especially beyond reclaim

Examples of spoliation in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Once that point is reached, countries reforest, another sign that economic advance does not have to mean environmental spoliation. Andrew Sullivan, Daily Intelligencer, "Another Glimpse of State Terror in Trump’s America," 8 June 2018 Parties that engage in such spoliation are more vulnerable to losing accompanying lawsuits. Michael Mccann, SI.com, "Could Bryan Colangelo Still Face Legal Consequences After Parting Ways With 76ers?," 7 June 2018 The Victoria and Albert Museum in London is hiring a new provenance and spoliation curator to help train other staff in provenance research. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "The Persistent Crime of Nazi-Looted Art," 11 Mar. 2018 This sweeping history of the decades after the Civil War decries the spoliations White sees everywhere among robber barons and corrupt politicians. New York Times, "11 New Books We Recommend This Week," 28 Sep. 2017 Failure to follow these protocols could result in criminal or civil penalties, and could form the basis of legal claims, legal presumptions, or jury instructions relating to spoliation of evidence. Washington Post Staff, Washington Post, "Full text: Trump transition team memo on keeping documents on Russia and the election," 16 June 2017

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.

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First Known Use of spoliation

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

History and Etymology for spoliation

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

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Statistics for spoliation

Last Updated

17 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for spoliation

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

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More Definitions for spoliation


spo·​li·​a·​tion | \ ˌspō-lē-ˈā-shən How to pronounce spoliation (audio) \

Legal Definition of spoliation

1 : the destruction, alteration, or mutilation of evidence especially by a party for whom the evidence is damaging
2 : alteration or mutilation of an instrument (as a will) by one who is not a party to the instrument

More from Merriam-Webster on spoliation

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with spoliation

Nglish: Translation of spoliation for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of spoliation for Arabic Speakers

Comments on spoliation

What made you want to look up spoliation? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to make a temporary encampment

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