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[dev-uh-steyt] /ˈdɛv əˌsteɪt/
verb (used with object), devastated, devastating.
to lay waste; render desolate:
The invaders devastated the city.
Synonyms: destroy, sack, despoil, raze, ruin, level.
Antonyms: create, erect, develop.
to overwhelm.
Origin of devastate
1625-35; < Latin dēvastātus laid waste (past participle of dēvastāre), equivalent to dē- de- + vast(āre) to lay waste (akin to vastus empty) + -ātus -ate1
Related forms
devastative, adjective
devastator, noun
undevastated, adjective
Synonym Study
1. See ravage. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for devastated
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • We noticed the devastated stations, villages, and large shell holes in the embankment of the line.

  • We went on with some difficulty, trying to find the road in these devastated plains.

    My Double Life Sarah Bernhardt
  • Are the fires of persecution, which in other ages have devastated other lands, to be lighted here also?

  • The country was devastated by fire and to the last degree inhospitable.

    The Long Labrador Trail Dillon Wallace
  • The reason why these saints are invoked as a group is said to have been an epidemic which devastated Europe from 1346 to 1349.

British Dictionary definitions for devastated


verb (transitive)
to lay waste or make desolate; ravage; destroy
to confound or overwhelm, as with grief or shock
Derived Forms
devastation, noun
devastative, adjective
devastator, noun
Word Origin
C17: from Latin dēvastāre, from de- + vastāre to ravage; related to vastus waste, empty
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 devastated



1630s, perhaps a back-formation from devastation. Apparently not common until 19c.; earlier verb form devast is attested from 1530s, from Middle French devaster. Related: devastated; devastating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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