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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.
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
  • Situated on an island that amounted to little more than an unprotected sandbar, the city was devastated.
  • Her words had for a brief time devastated me.
  • Ruled by pirates and devastated by civil war, the island poses one peril after another.
  • Power grids could be devastated by a storm on the sun, astronomers warned today.
  • But it is the steady loss of ocelot habitat that devastated their population in Texas.
  • She was emotionally devastated and dropped out of school.
  • His wife, devastated by his death, never recovered enough to promote his memory.
  • We expect to feel devastated if our spouse leaves us or if we get passed over for a big promotion at work.
  • Next Cassie is devastated by the news that her grandmother has sold the inn.
  • When it seemed as though she had walked out on him after five years, he was devastated.
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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