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[dih-struhk-tiv] /dɪˈstrʌk tɪv/
tending to destroy; causing destruction or much damage (often followed by of or to):
a very destructive windstorm.
tending to overthrow, disprove, or discredit (opposed to constructive):
destructive criticism.
Origin of destructive
1480-90; < Middle French < Late Latin dēstructīvus, equivalent to Latin dēstruct(us) (see destruction) + -īvus -ive
Related forms
destructively, adverb
destructiveness, destructivity
[dee-struhk-tiv-i-tee] /ˌdi strʌkˈtɪv ɪ ti/ (Show IPA),
interdestructive, adjective
interdestructively, adverb
interdestructiveness, noun
nondestructive, adjective
nondestructively, adverb
nondestructiveness, noun
overdestructive, adjective
overdestructively, adverb
overdestructiveness, noun
semidestructive, adjective
undestructive, adjective
undestructively, adverb
undestructiveness, noun
1. ruinous, deleterious. 2. unfavorable, adverse, negative.
1. creative. 2. constructive. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for destructively
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The chances against them were too great, our artillery and machine gun fire too destructively accurate.

    Trenching at Gallipoli John Gallishaw
  • These waters were fished so destructively that many of the fish were found to be decreasing.

    Conservation Reader Harold W. Fairbanks
  • And it was this knowledge that had worn on him so destructively.

    Rich Man, Poor Man Maximilian Foster
  • Filbert blight was responsible for much of this loss, but so also were destructively low temperatures.

  • She turned on him blindly and destructively, he became a mad creature, black and electric with fury.

    The Rainbow D. H. (David Herbert) Lawrence
  • Since the days of the thirty years' war in Germany, never had war been carried on in Europe so mercilessly and so destructively.

  • "Thank you very much, but I think I will say 'Good morning,'" broke in my aunt's most destructively polite tones.

    Miss Million's Maid Bertha Ruck
British Dictionary definitions for destructively


often postpositive and foll by of or to. causing or tending to cause the destruction (of)
intended to disprove or discredit, esp without positive suggestions or help; negative: destructive criticism Compare constructive (sense 1)
Derived Forms
destructively, adverb
destructiveness, destructivity (ˌdiːstrʌkˈtɪvɪtɪ) noun
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 destructively



late 15c., from Old French destructif (14c.), from Late Latin destructivus, from destruct-, past participle stem of Latin destruere (see destroy).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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