Thesaurus

despoil

verb

Synonyms of despoil

to search through with the intent of committing robbery
  • the burglars despoiled the art museum in search of treasures they thought they could sell to a fence

Synonyms for despoil

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ravage, devastate, waste, sack, pillage, despoil mean to lay waste by plundering or destroying. ravage implies violent often cumulative depredation and destruction. a hurricane ravaged the coast devastate implies the complete ruin and desolation of a wide area. an earthquake devastated the city waste may imply producing the same result by a slow process rather than sudden and violent action. years of drought had wasted the area sack implies carrying off all valuable possessions from a place. barbarians sacked ancient Rome pillage implies ruthless plundering at will but without the completeness suggested by sack. settlements pillaged by Vikings despoil applies to looting or robbing without suggesting accompanying destruction. the Nazis despoiled the art museums

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The first known use of despoil was in the 14th century

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Cite this Entry

“Despoil.” The Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/despoil. Accessed 9 December 2019.

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More from Merriam-Webster on despoil

Dictionary: Definition of despoil

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with despoil

Spanish Central: Translation of despoil

Nglish: Translation of despoil for Spanish Speakers

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