destructive

adjective
de·​struc·​tive | \ di-ˈstrək-tiv How to pronounce destructive (audio) \

Definition of destructive

1 : causing destruction : ruinous destructive storm
2 : designed or tending to hurt or destroy destructive criticism

Other Words from destructive

destructively adverb
destructiveness noun

Examples of destructive in a Sentence

It was one of the most destructive storms in recent memory. She argued that the law was destructive of personal liberties. The school is concerned about the destructive behavior of a few students.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web While such a move might be destructive, the aide said, some might be prepared to play that role. Michael Scherer, Tyler Pager And Sean Sullivan, Anchorage Daily News, 20 Nov. 2021 Keep in mind that raccoons are the most opportunistic creatures out there and can be destructive in their quest for the next meal. oregonlive, 30 Oct. 2021 People continue to use these platforms while also understanding how destructive can be. Oliver Darcy, CNN, 27 Oct. 2021 In fact, that’s a practice that companies have sometimes adopted that is quite destructive, for all sorts of reasons. Cassie Werber, Quartz, 25 Oct. 2021 Anyone who plays Mario Kart 8 Deluxe knows how destructive a blue turtle shell can be in destroying families and friendships, and Awkwafina is no exception. Nina Huang, EW.com, 22 Oct. 2021 Some are constructive, some are destructive, but most are stymied by a need for security instead of taking the courage to achieve their full potential. Greg Creed, Forbes, 21 Oct. 2021 But despite historically dry conditions, this year’s fire season hasn’t been quite as destructive as last year’s record-shattering season. Yoohyun Jung, San Francisco Chronicle, 14 Oct. 2021 The notion was that disease organisms and destructive insects can overwinter in the old leaves, dead flower stalks and other detritus if left in the bed through fall and winter. Paul Cappiello, The Courier-Journal, 13 Nov. 2021

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

See More

First Known Use of destructive

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Learn More About destructive

Time Traveler for destructive

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near destructive

destructionist

destructive

destructive distillation

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for destructive

Last Updated

27 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Destructive.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/destructive. Accessed 8 Dec. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for destructive

destructive

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of destructive

: causing a very large amount of damage : causing destruction or harm

destructive

adjective
de·​struc·​tive | \ di-ˈstrək-tiv How to pronounce destructive (audio) \

Kids Definition of destructive

1 : causing great damage or ruin a destructive storm
2 : not positive or helpful destructive criticism

More from Merriam-Webster on destructive

Nglish: Translation of destructive for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of destructive for Arabic Speakers

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet pasta spelling help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!