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[dih-lap-i-deyt] /dɪˈlæp ɪˌdeɪt/
verb (used with object), dilapidated, dilapidating.
to cause or allow (a building, automobile, etc.) to fall into a state of disrepair, as by misuse or neglect (often used passively):
The house had been dilapidated by neglect.
Archaic. to squander; waste.
verb (used without object), dilapidated, dilapidating.
to fall into ruin or decay.
Origin of dilapidate
1560-70; < Medieval Latin dīlapidātus, past participle of dīlapidāre to squander (compare dīlapidātiō disrepair), Latin: to pelt with stones; see di-2, lapidate
Related forms
dilapidation, noun
dilapidator, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for dilapidation
Historical Examples
  • The town along the water resembles Salem, except that it has neither its look of antiquity nor its dilapidation.

  • dilapidation is written everywhere in this Oriental atmosphere.

    Due West Maturin Murray Ballou
  • Fifteen lives were lost, and the churches, convents, and many private houses are in a state of dilapidation.

  • The speculation did not answer, and the house is now in a state of dilapidation.

  • Here in a thick forest were several pyramids in a very advanced stage of dilapidation and not described.

  • It had an air of dilapidation, but, withal, of comfort about it.

    The Rival Campers Ruel Perley Smith
  • In the second place, the driver was drunk, and the horse was groggy, and the fiacre was in the last stage of dilapidation.

    In the Days of My Youth Amelia Ann Blandford Edwards
  • The house was not modern and had fallen into a general state of dilapidation.

    Doris Force at Locked Gates Julia K. Duncan
  • Both were thickly bordered by religious houses and pagodas--the latter, for the most part, being in a state of dilapidation.

    On the Irrawaddy G. A. Henty
  • It was in bills of various denominations and various stages of dilapidation.

    The Land of Strong Men Arthur M. Chisholm
British Dictionary definitions for dilapidation


the state of being or becoming dilapidated
(often pl) (property law)
  1. the state of disrepair of premises at the end of a tenancy due to neglect
  2. the extent of repairs necessary to such premises
Derived Forms
dilapidator, noun


to fall or cause to fall into ruin or decay
Word Origin
C16: from Latin dīlapidāre to scatter, waste, from dis- apart + lapidāre to stone, throw stones, from lapis stone
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 dilapidation

early 15c., from Late Latin dilapidationem (nominative dilapidatio) "a squandering," noun of action from past participle stem of Latin dilapidare "throw away, squander, waste," literally "pelt with stones" (thus "ruin, destroy") or else "scatter like stones," from dis- "asunder" (see dis-) + lapidare "throw stones at," from lapis (genitive lapidis) "stone." "Taken in Eng. in a more literal sense than was usual in Latin" [OED].



1560s, "to bring a building to ruin," from Latin dilapidatus, past participle of dilapidare "to squander, waste," originally "to throw stones, scatter like stones;" see dilapidation. Perhaps the English word is a back-formation from dilapidation.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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