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v. de·stroyed, de·stroy·ing, de·stroys
1. To break apart the structure of, render physically unusable, or cause to cease to exist as a distinguishable physical entity: The fire destroyed the library. The tumor was destroyed with a laser.
2. To put an end to; eliminate: "In crowded populations, poverty destroys the possibility of cleanliness" (George Bernard Shaw).
3. To render useless or ruin: felt that an overemphasis on theory had destroyed the study of literature.
4. To put to death; kill: destroy a rabid dog.
5. To subdue or defeat completely; crush: The rebel forces were destroyed in battle.
6. To cause emotional trauma to; devastate: The divorce destroyed him.
To be destructive; cause destruction: "Too much money destroys as surely as too little" (John Simon).

[Middle English destroien, from Old French destruire, from Vulgar Latin *dēstrūgere, back-formation from Latin dēstrūctus, past participle of dēstruere, to destroy : dē-, de- + struere, to pile up; see ster- in Indo-European roots.]
Synonyms: destroy, raze, demolish, ruin, wreck
These verbs mean to cause the complete ruin or wreckage of something or someone. Destroy, raze, and demolish can all imply reduction to ruins or even complete obliteration: "I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness" (Allen Ginsberg)."raze what was left of the city from the surface of the earth" (John Lothrop Motley).
The prosecutor demolished the opposition's argument. Ruin usually implies irretrievable harm but not necessarily total destruction: "You will ruin no more lives as you ruined mine" (Arthur Conan Doyle).
To wreck is to ruin in or as if in a violent collision: "The Boers had just wrecked a British military train" (Arnold Bennett).
When wreck is used in referring to the ruination of a person or of his or her hopes or reputation, it implies irreparable shattering: "Coleridge, poet and philosopher wrecked in a mist of opium" (Matthew Arnold).
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.


A condition of a target so damaged that it can neither function as intended nor be restored to a usable condition. In the case of a building, all vertical supports and spanning members are damaged to such an extent that nothing is salvageable. In the case of bridges, all spans must have dropped and all piers must require replacement.
Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms. US Department of Defense 2005.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Adj.1.destroyed - spoiled or ruined or demolished; "war left many cities destroyed"; "Alzheimer's is responsible for her destroyed mind"
damaged - harmed or injured or spoiled; "I won't buy damaged goods"; "the storm left a wake of badly damaged buildings"
preserved - kept intact or in a particular condition
2.destroyed - destroyed physically or morally
lost - spiritually or physically doomed or destroyed; "lost souls"; "a lost generation"; "a lost ship"; "the lost platoon"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.