verb (used with object)
to reduce (an object) to useless fragments, a useless form, or remains, as by rending, burning, or dissolving; injure beyond repair or renewal; demolish; ruin; annihilate.
to put an end to; extinguish.
to render ineffective or useless; nullify; neutralize; invalidate.
1175–1225; Middle English destroyen
< Old French destruire
< Vulgar Latin *dēstrūgere,
for Latin dēstruere
to pick up, build)
destroyable, adjectivehalf-destroyed, adjectivepredestroy, verb (used with object)self-destroyed, adjectiveself-destroying, adjectiveundestroyed, adjectivewell-destroyed, adjective
Can be confused
(see usage note at decimate
; see synonym study at the current entry)
smash, level, waste, ravage, devastate. Destroy, demolish, raze
imply reducing a thing to uselessness. To destroy
is to reduce something to nothingness or to take away its powers and functions so that restoration is impossible: Fire destroys a building. Disease destroys tissues.
is to destroy something organized or structured: to demolish a machine.
is to level down to the ground: to raze a fortress. 2.
extirpate, annihilate, uproot.