9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[self-di-struhkt] /ˈsɛlf dɪˈstrʌkt/
verb (used without object)
to destroy itself or oneself:
The missile is built so that a malfunction will cause it to self-destruct.
to cause itself or oneself to reach a state of collapse, dysfunction, confusion, or the like:
The committee is so disorganized it will probably self-destruct before it can accomplish anything.
causing something to self-destruct:
a self-destruct mechanism.
Origin of self-destruct
1965-70, Americanism Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for self-destruct
  • Typically, the digital textbook files self-destruct after a set period of time, usually a semester or a year.
  • Most of the new e-books self-destruct after a set period of time, say a semester or a year, to prevent resales.
  • Think of them as self-destruct buttons that you have to push with a missile.
  • It's not scary, it will not self-destruct if only you would listen.
  • The interview program warned that the devices would self-destruct if tampered with.
  • Those that fail to detect a target are supposed to self-destruct in the air.
  • But the strategy of waiting for the government to self-destruct may backfire.
  • It is really sad to hear a professional self-destruct so completely.
  • The world's economy is set to self-destruct and no one knows how much time is on the timer.
  • Strong upper-level troughs and cutoff lows can cause self-destruct sunshine.
British Dictionary definitions for self-destruct


(intransitive) to explode or disintegrate automatically as a result of pre-programming: the missile self-destructed
to destroy oneself, one's reputation, etc, through one's habits or actions: I totally self-destructed with drugs
(as modifier): hit the self-destruct button
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 self-destruct

in reference to things, "to destroy itself automatically," from self- + destruct, apparently first attested in the U.S. television series "Mission Impossible" (1966). Self-destructive is recorded from 1650s, and self-destruction "suicide" is attested from 1580s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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