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tr.v. de·spoiled, de·spoil·ing, de·spoils
1. To deprive of something valuable, especially by force; rob: The invaders despoiled the town of its art treasures. He was despoiled of his inheritance by crooked lawyers.
2. To ruin, especially by destroying or removing what is valuable: "a landscape that had been raped and despoiled by coal mining" (George Black).

[Middle English despoilen, from Old French despoillier, from Latin dēspoliāre : dē-, de- + spoliāre, to plunder (from spolium, booty).]

de·spoil′er n.
de·spoil′ment 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.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.despoiler - someone who takes spoils or plunder (as in war)despoiler - someone who takes spoils or plunder (as in war)
war, warfare - the waging of armed conflict against an enemy; "thousands of people were killed in the war"
buccaneer, sea robber, sea rover, pirate - someone who robs at sea or plunders the land from the sea without having a commission from any sovereign nation
stealer, thief - a criminal who takes property belonging to someone else with the intention of keeping it or selling it
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
References in classic literature ?
He would feel like the despoiler of the widow and the orphan.
As a further provision for the efficacy of the federal powers, they took an oath mutually to defend and protect the united cities, to punish the violators of this oath, and to inflict vengeance on sacrilegious despoilers of the temple.
It was no man who leaped forward upon that Boche officer, striking aside the sharp bayonet as one might strike aside a straw in a baby's hand--it was a wild beast and the roar of a wild beast was upon those savage lips, for as that strange sense that Tarzan owned in common with the other jungle-bred creatures of his wild domain warned him of the presence behind him and he had whirled to meet the attack, his eyes had seen the corps and regimental insignia upon the other's blouse--it was the same as that worn by the murderers of his wife and his people, by the despoilers of his home and his happiness.
He was very savage indeed; but his despoilers were well out of his reach, and after hurling a few taunts and missiles at him they swung away through the trees, fiercely reviling him.
Meanwhile, the political Left makes allowances for massive C[O.sub.2] emitter China, even as Beijing scolds the United States as a despoiler. Apparently all China has to do is make an empty promise, and all is good.
These presumptions result in shifting the burden to the despoiler of the environment to come forward with the evidence to prove the necessity for damaging the trust corpus.
(47) Meanwhile, even Stephen Owen concedes that the evil suggestions from Heaven's Despoiler and Sky-sieve's Tongue "more likely come from his stomach than from the stars." (48) Thus, Meng's concluding attempts to "deploy" words against slaughter mark an internal struggle against his own appetites as well as a protest against slaughter in the outside world.
As a crisis in the human spirit, it is an equal opportunity despoiler.
Although this concern rests on three assumptions that are far from certain (that human activity is having a measurable effect on the global climate, that the climate is warming at a rate that will make adaptation difficult and costly for some, and that the effects of warming will be a net negative), it is nevertheless widely held, and it finds powerful (if usually unarticulated) support in the ideological bent that sees humanity as the despoiler of nature.
In the short letter he states that "we have learned, with surprise and regret, that some of the Arabs in those very parts, far from assisting us, are neglecting this their supreme opportunity and are lending their arms to the German and the Turk, to the new despoiler and the old oppressor." (11) McMahon's response is confirmed by further witnesses; the book Hell in the Holy Land alludes to and describes in the latter portions the atrocities that Arabs on opposite sides of the war committed against each other.
represents a type of the "eternal feminine"--the guardian of the hearth, the avenger of its wrongs upon the defacer and the despoiler. (Tickner 254)
Once known, however, the utmost excitement arose, and vengeance was freely uttered against the despoiler....