ru·​in | \ ˈrü-ən How to pronounce ruin (audio) , -ˌin; ˈrün \
ruined\ ˈrü-​ənd How to pronounce ruin (audio) , -​ˌind ; ˈründ , dialectal  ˈrü-​ənt How to pronounce ruin (audio) , -​ˌint ; ˈrünt \; ruining; ruins

Definition of ruin

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to damage irreparably
b : bankrupt, impoverish ruined by stock speculation
2 : to subject to frustration, failure, or disaster will ruin your chances of promotion
3 : to reduce to ruins : devastate

intransitive verb

: to become ruined



Definition of ruin (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : the state of being ruined archaic except in plural the city lay in ruins
b : the remains of something destroyed usually used in plural the ruins of an ancient templethe ruins of his life
2 : a ruined building, person, or object
3a : the action of destroying, laying waste, or wrecking
b : damage, injury
4a : physical, moral, economic, or social collapse
b archaic : a falling down : collapse from age to age … the crash of ruin fitfully resounds— William Wordsworth
5 : a cause of destruction

Other Words from ruin


ruiner noun

Examples of ruin in a Sentence

Verb The bad weather ruined the party. I ruined the sauce by adding too much garlic. His low test scores ruined his chances of getting into a good school. Poor customer service ruined the company's reputation. He was ruined by debt. The scandal ruined the mayor. Noun The incident led to the ruin of their relationship. The abandoned town had gone to ruin. Don't let the house your grandfather built fall into ruin. The castle is now a ruin. The drought brought economic ruin to local farmers. Her drug addiction brought her to the brink of ruin. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Meanwhile, the Wickham-esque Dex (Zane Phillips) adds to the dramatic entanglements threatening to ruin what could be Howie and Noah’s last getaway with their closest friends. Justin J Wee, Los Angeles Times, 21 June 2022 Is Kentucky or maybe LSU in Year 1 of Brian Kelly ready to ruin another top team’s season? Doug Lesmerises, al, 16 June 2022 Identity theft remains a popular way for cybercriminals to ruin your credit score. Michael Kan, PCMAG, 8 June 2022 This time, Detroit Tigers utility player Harold Castro didn’t wait until the eighth inning to ruin Cleveland Guardians starter Triston McKenzie’s afternoon. Ryan Ford, Detroit Free Press, 29 May 2022 No one wants to ruin a trip with a bad (and preventable) sunburn. Rachel King, Fortune, 28 May 2022 Still, Mariupol has been largely reduced to ruin, Ukrainian officials say that more than 20,000 inhabitants were killed, and the city has come to symbolize the war’s grotesque horrors. New York Times, 17 May 2022 And the Templars that year again lost twice to Grantsville to ruin their hopes. The Salt Lake Tribune, 15 May 2022 As owner of New York City's most exclusive casino, Clayton Madden has the power to ruin the most powerful families, excepting one that has eluded him. Maureen Lee Lenker,, 25 Mar. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In the 14 years since then, news accounts and law enforcement announcements have highlighted egregious cases of title theft, with some victims facing financial ruin or even eviction from their own homes. Mike Levine, ABC News, 14 June 2022 There’s a lot of ruin in a reserve currency, and the greenback’s global pre-eminence endures for now. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 18 Mar. 2022 And her tirades ruin gatherings for me, occur on my time, happen in my home, and insult my family. Carolyn Hax, Washington Post, 5 June 2022 Through the three months of Russia’s invasion, New York Times journalists have chronicled carnage and courage, ruin and resolve, across the wide arc of combat through eastern Ukraine, where Vladimir V. Putin’s brutal offensive is now concentrated. New York Times, 1 June 2022 She is involved in an obscure botanical research program that entails tramping from her pretty cottage across the island, past a ruin and a well, to measure the soil temperature at the same cliffside spot, then tramping back to record her findings. Jessica Kiang, Variety, 26 May 2022 The political gods, in their unfathomable wisdom, have handed Republicans a once-in-a-generation chance to help voters understand how to build a future from this ruin. Daniel Henninger, WSJ, 25 May 2022 So yeah, this was a very stupid episode, capping off a very stupid conflict over a stupid office building that is now a smoldering ruin. Erik Kain, Forbes, 22 May 2022 Finally, the Yoga 9i doesn't let slimness ruin port selection. Scharon Harding, Ars Technica, 13 May 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of ruin


1572, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 3


12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4b

History and Etymology for ruin


Middle English ruine, from Anglo-French, from Latin ruina, from ruere to rush headlong, fall, collapse

Learn More About ruin

Time Traveler for ruin

Time Traveler

The first known use of ruin was in the 12th century

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Dictionary Entries Near ruin



ruin agate

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Statistics for ruin

Last Updated

27 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Ruin.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jul. 2022.

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More Definitions for ruin


ru·​in | \ ˈrü-ən How to pronounce ruin (audio) \
ruined; ruining

Kids Definition of ruin

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to reduce to wreckage a ruined city
2 : to damage beyond repair … "she's … ruined every scrap of clothes she owns."— Katherine Paterson, Jacob Have I Loved
3 : to have a very bad effect on the quality of (something) Losing my wallet ruined the trip.



Kids Definition of ruin (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : complete collapse or destruction
2 ruins plural : the remains of something destroyed the ruins of an ancient city
3 : the situation in which someone experiences loss of money, social status, or position They were on the brink of financial ruin.
in ruins
: nearly or completely destroyed Her reputation was in ruins— Richard Peck, A Year Down Yonder

More from Merriam-Webster on ruin

Nglish: Translation of ruin for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ruin for Arabic Speakers


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