di·​lap·​i·​dat·​ed də-ˈla-pə-ˌdā-təd How to pronounce dilapidated (audio)
: decayed, deteriorated, or fallen into partial ruin especially through neglect or misuse
a dilapidated old house

Did you know?

Something that is dilapidated may not have been literally pummeled with stones, but it might look that way. Dilapidated derives (via the English verb dilapidate) from dilapidatus, the past participle of the Latin verb dilapidare ("to squander or destroy"). That verb was formed by combining dis-, meaning "apart," with the verb lapidare, meaning "to pelt with stones." Other English descendants of lapidare include the verb lapidate ("to pelt or kill with stones") and the noun lapidary, which is used to refer to a person who cuts or polishes precious stones. Both words share as a root the Latin noun lapis, meaning "stone." We also find lapis in the name lapis lazuli, a bright blue semiprecious stone.

Example Sentences

a dilapidated car that had seen better days
Recent Examples on the Web In East Los Angeles, Adams took control of a dilapidated triplex, sold it and tried to bill the estate $530,000 before an angry judge cut the amount by more than half. Liam Dillon, Los Angeles Times, 17 May 2023 The little red building lasted for decades and was either unpretentious or dilapidated, depending on your perspective. David Reamer | Alaska History, Anchorage Daily News, 14 May 2023 Dolores survives by running a massage business out of the basement of an old friend’s dilapidated shop, Empanada Loca. Los Angeles Times Staff, Los Angeles Times, 11 May 2023 The home's dilapidated kitchen features a wall of jack-o'-lanterns. Megan Cerullo, CBS News, 10 May 2023 With a few clever design interventions, the dilapidated space is transformed into an elegant home that nevertheless feels cozy and intimate. Kimberley Mok, Treehugger, 10 May 2023 Cline’s confessional essay for Oprah magazine about living in a dilapidated garden shed in Brooklyn could have run as a parody in McSweeney’s. Ron Charles, Washington Post, 9 May 2023 And in the little town of Irsina in the southern Basilicata region, more than 300 non-Italians from North America and across Europe, have helped revived this once dying community by taking over dilapidated properties. Maureen O'hare, CNN, 29 Apr. 2023 The rest of the dilapidated former theater will be razed for surface parking. La Risa R. Lynch, Journal Sentinel, 27 Apr. 2023 See More

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

Word History


see dilapidate

First Known Use

1565, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of dilapidated was in 1565


Dictionary Entries Near dilapidated

Cite this Entry

“Dilapidated.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dilapidated. Accessed 31 May. 2023.

Kids Definition


: partly ruined or decayed especially from age or lack of care
a dilapidated old house

More from Merriam-Webster on dilapidated

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