verb (used with object), spoiled or spoilt, spoiling.
to damage severely or harm (something), especially with reference to its excellence, value, usefulness, etc.: The water stain spoiled the painting. Drought spoiled the corn crop.
to diminish or impair the quality of; affect detrimentally: Bad weather spoiled their vacation.
to impair, damage, or harm the character or nature of (someone) by unwise treatment, excessive indulgence, etc.: to spoil a child by pampering him.
Archaic. to strip (persons, places, etc.) of goods, valuables, etc.; plunder; pillage; despoil.
Archaic. to take or seize by force.
verb (used without object), spoiled or spoilt, spoiling.
to become bad, or unfit for use, as food or other perishable substances; become tainted or putrid: Milk spoils if not refrigerated.
to plunder, pillage, or rob.
Often, spoils. booty, loot, or plunder taken in war or robbery.
the act of plundering.
an object of plundering.
Usually, spoils.
the emoluments and advantages of public office viewed as won by a victorious political party: the spoils of office.
prizes won or treasures accumulated: a child's spoils brought home from a party.
waste material, as that which is cast up in mining, excavating, quarrying, etc.
an imperfectly made object, damaged during the manufacturing process.
be spoiling for, Informal. to be very eager for; be desirous of: It was obvious that he was spoiling for a fight.

1300–50; (v.) Middle English spoilen < Old French espoillier < Latin spoliāre to despoil, equivalent to spoli(um) booty + -āre infinitive suffix; (noun) derivative of the v. or < Old French espoille, derivative of espoillier

spoilable, adjective
spoilless, adjective
unspoilable, adjective
unspoiled, adjective

1. disfigure, destroy, demolish, mar. Spoil, ruin, wreck agree in meaning to reduce the value, quality, usefulness, etc., of anything. Spoil is the general term: to spoil a delicate fabric. Ruin implies doing completely destructive or irreparable injury: to ruin one's health. Wreck implies a violent breaking up or demolition: to wreck oneself with drink; to wreck a building.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
spoil (spɔɪl)
vb , spoils, spoiling, spoilt, spoiled
1.  (tr) to cause damage to (something), in regard to its value, beauty, usefulness, etc
2.  (tr) to weaken the character of (a child) by complying unrestrainedly with its desires
3.  (intr) (of perishable substances) to become unfit for consumption or use: the fruit must be eaten before it spoils
4.  (intr) sport to disrupt the play or style of an opponent, as to prevent him from settling into a rhythm
5.  archaic to strip (a person or place) of (property or goods) by force or violence
6.  be spoiling for to have an aggressive desire for (a fight, etc)
7.  waste material thrown up by an excavation
8.  any treasure accumulated by a person: this gold ring was part of the spoil
9.  obsolete
 a.  the act of plundering
 b.  a strategically placed building, city, etc, captured as plunder
[C13: from Old French espoillier, from Latin spoliāre to strip, from spolium booty]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

c.1300, from O.Fr. espoillier "to strip, plunder," from L. spoliare "to strip of clothing, rob," from spolium "armor stripped from an enemy, booty;" originally "skin stripped from a killed animal," from PIE *spol-yo-, perhaps from base *spel- "to split, to break off" (cf. Gk. aspalon "skin, hide," spolas
"flayed skin;" Lith. spaliai "shives of flax;" O.C.S. rasplatiti "to cleave, split;" M.L.G. spalden, O.H.G. spaltan "to split;" Skt. sphatayati "splits"). Sense of "to damage so as to render useless" is from 1563; that of "to over-indulge" (a child, etc.) is from 1648 (implied in spoiled). Intransitive sense of "to go bad" is from 1692. To be spoiling for (a fight, etc.) is from 1865, from notion that one will "spoil" if he doesn't get it. The noun meaning "goods captured in time of war" is from c.1300. Spoiler "one who ruins an opponent's chances" is from 1950. Spoil-sport attested from 1801.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


In addition to the idioms beginning with spoil, also see spare the rod and spoil the child; too many cooks spoil the broth; to the victor belong the spoils.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
College coaches may not want to spoil the fun by talking about injuries or
  revoked scholarships during a recruiting pitch.
But tall hedges may rob other houses' light, or spoil views.
Clouds, for example, can spoil any sky-watcher's night.
The wine does not spoil as quickly since the wine in the bag is not exposed to
  air as it is dispensed.
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