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[dih-stroi] /dɪˈstrɔɪ/
verb (used with object)
to reduce (an object) to useless fragments, a useless form, or remains, as by rending, burning, or dissolving; injure beyond repair or renewal; demolish; ruin; annihilate.
to put an end to; extinguish.
to kill; slay.
to render ineffective or useless; nullify; neutralize; invalidate.
to defeat completely.
verb (used without object)
to engage in destruction.
Origin of destroy
1175-1225; Middle English destroyen < Old French destruire < Vulgar Latin *dēstrūgere, for Latin dēstruere (dē- de- + struere to pick up, build)
Related forms
destroyable, adjective
half-destroyed, adjective
predestroy, verb (used with object)
self-destroyed, adjective
self-destroying, adjective
undestroyed, adjective
well-destroyed, adjective
Can be confused
decimal, decimate, destroy (see usage note at decimate; see synonym study at the current entry)
1. smash, level, waste, ravage, devastate. Destroy, demolish, raze imply reducing a thing to uselessness. To destroy is to reduce something to nothingness or to take away its powers and functions so that restoration is impossible: Fire destroys a building. Disease destroys tissues. To demolish is to destroy something organized or structured: to demolish a machine. To raze is to level down to the ground: to raze a fortress. 2. extirpate, annihilate, uproot.
1, 2. create. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for destroyed
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • That bell will ring until the ship is destroyed, he thought wildly.

    No Hiding Place Richard R. Smith
  • His absence was the opportunity for the conspirators, and they destroyed our letters.

    Up the River Oliver Optic
  • The form may have been destroyed, but the taste and the odor do not perish.

  • A theory which he had formed was destroyed by that recollection.

    Jack O' Judgment Edgar Wallace
  • This was destroyed by the unruly apprentices during one of their saturnalia.

British Dictionary definitions for destroyed


verb (mainly transitive)
to ruin; spoil; render useless
to tear down or demolish; break up; raze
to put an end to; do away with; extinguish
to kill or annihilate
to crush, subdue, or defeat
(intransitive) to be destructive or cause destruction
Derived Forms
destroyable, adjective
Word Origin
C13: from Old French destruire, from Latin dēstruere to pull down, from de- + struere to pile up, build
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for destroyed



early 13c., from Old French destruire (12c., Modern French détruire) "destroy, ravage, lay waste," from Vulgar Latin *destrugere (source of Italian distruggere), refashioned (influenced by destructus), from Latin destruere "tear down, demolish," literally "un-build," from de- "un-, down" (see de-) + struere "to pile, build" (see structure (n.)). Related: Destroyed; destroying.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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