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1. Causing or wreaking destruction; ruinous: a destructive act; a policy that is destructive to the economy.
2. Designed or tending to disprove or discredit: destructive criticism.

de·struc′tive·ly adv.
de·struc′tive·ness, de′struc·tiv′i·ty (dē′strŭk-tĭv′ĭ-tē) n.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.




  1. As killing as the canker to the rose —John Milton
  2. (Bones) breaking like hearts —Bin Ramke
  3. Break [a person’s spirit] like a biscuit —Beaumont and Fletcher
  4. Break like a bursting heart —Percy Bysshe Shelley
  5. Break like dead leaves —Richard Howard
  6. Cracked like parchment —Sin Ai
  7. Cracked like the ice in a frozen daiquiri —Anon
  8. (Her projects of happiness … ) crackled in the wind like dead boughs —Gustave Flaubert
  9. Crack like walnuts —Rita Mae Brown
  10. Crack like wishbones —Diane Ackerman
  11. Cracks … like a glass in which the contents turned to ice, and shiver it —Herman Melville
  12. [Fender and hood of a car] crumpled like tinfoil —T. Coraghessan Boyle
  13. Crushed like an empty beer can —Anon
  14. Crushed … like rats in a slate fall —Davis Grubb

    In Grubb’s novel, The Barefoot Man, the simile refers to miners who lost their lives.

  15. Crushed like rotten apples —William Shakespeare
  16. Crushed me like a grape —Carla Lane, British television sitcom, “Solo,” broadcast, May 19, 1987
  17. (And I’ll be) cut up like a pie —Irish ballad
  18. Destructive as moths in a woolens closet —Anon
  19. [Time’s malevolent effect on body] dragging him down like a bursting sack —Gerald Kersh
  20. (The Communists are) eating us away like an old fruit —Janet Flanner
  21. (Men) fade like leaves —Aristophanes
  22. Flattened her pitiful attempt like a locomotive running on a single track full steam ahead —Cornell Woolrich
  23. (Creditors ready to) gnaw him to bits … like maggots at work on a carcass —George Garrett
  24. The grass (at Shea Stadium) looked as if it had been attacked by animals that had not grazed for ages —Alex Yannis, New York Times, September 18, 1986

    Yannis, in reporting on the Mets’ winning the National League Eastern Division title, used the simile to describe the fans’ destruction of the playing field.

  25. If I do [give up] … I’ll be like a bullfighter gone horn-shy —Loren D. Estleman
  26. Like a divorce … goes ripping through our lives —Book jacket copy describing effect of Sharon Sheehe Stark’s novel, A Wrestling Season.
  27. Marked for annihilation like an orange scored for peeling —Yehuda Amichai
  28. My heroes [Chicago Cubs] had wilted like slugs —George F. Will
  29. Pollutes … like ratbite —William Alfred
  30. Self-destructing like a third-rate situation comedy —Warren T. Brookes, on Republican party, Wall Street Journal, July 15, 1986
  31. Shattered like a walnut shell —Charles Dickens

    In Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, the comparison refers to a broken wine cask.

  32. Shatter them like so much glass —Robert Louis Stevenson
  33. Shrivel up like some old straw broom —Joyce Carol Oates
  34. Snap like dry chicken bones —David Michael
  35. [Taut nerves] snap like guy wires in a tornado —Nardi Reeder Campion, New York Times r/raes/Op-Ed, January, 5, 1987
  36. (Then the illusion) snapped like a nest of threads —F. Scott Fitzgerald
  37. Snapped off [due to frailness] like celery —Lawrence Durrell
  38. (Who can accept that spirit can be) snuffed as finally as a flame —Barbara Lazear Ascher, New York Times 77mes/Hers, October 30, 1986
  39. They [free-spending wife and daughter] ate holes in me like Swiss cheese —Clifford Odets
  40. Wear out their lives, like old clothes —John Cheever
  41. Your destruction comes as a whirlwind —The Holy Bible /Proverbs
Similes Dictionary, 1st Edition. © 1988 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.destructiveness - the quality of causing destruction
quality - an essential and distinguishing attribute of something or someone; "the quality of mercy is not strained"--Shakespeare
harmfulness, injuriousness - destructiveness that causes harm or injury
poison - anything that harms or destroys; "the poison of fascism"
constructiveness - the quality of serving to build or improve
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
تَدْميرِيَّه، تَخْريب
romboló hatás
eyîileggjandi áhrif/hneigî


[dɪˈstrʌktɪvnɪs] N [of fire, war, weapon] → capacidad f destructora; [of child] → tendencia f destructiva; [of criticism, attitude, behaviour] → carácter m destructivo
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


(of fire, war)zerstörende Wirkung; (of weapon)Zerstörungskraft f; (of person, child etc)Destruktivität f (esp Psych), → Zerstörungswut f
(of criticism)Destruktivität f, → zersetzende Wirkung
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007


[disˈtrʌktɪvnɪs] n (gen) → carattere m distruttivo; (of child) → tendenza a distruggere
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995


(diˈstrakʃən) noun
1. the act or process of destroying or being destroyed. the destruction of the city.
2. the state of being destroyed; ruin. a scene of destruction.
desˈtructive (-tiv) adjective
1. causing or able to cause destruction. Small children can be very destructive.
2. (of criticism etc) pointing out faults etc without suggesting improvements.
deˈstructively adverb
deˈstructiveness noun
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2013 K Dictionaries Ltd.