Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[dih-spoil] /dɪˈspɔɪl/
verb (used with object)
to strip of possessions, things of value, etc.; rob; plunder; pillage.
Origin of despoil
1175-1225; Middle English despoilen < Old French despoillier < Latin dēspoliāre to strip, rob, plunder, equivalent to dē- de- + spoliāre to plunder; see spoil
Related forms
despoiler, noun
despoilment, noun
undespoiled, adjective
dispossess, divest; rifle, sack; fleece. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for despoil
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • You pull down, you despoil; but they build up, they restore.

    The White Company Arthur Conan Doyle
  • But forgive me; it was hard for me to see you despoil yourself.

    Doctor Pascal Emile Zola
  • I would rather say, "despoil me of my life, but my integrity never."

  • If I despoil the bulls of their skins, you are not too proud to despoil one of the husbands of the widow.

  • Euphorbus, attempting to despoil Patroclus of his armour, is slain by Menelaus.

  • But not for himself did Meleager despoil the body of his foe.

    A Book of Myths Jean Lang
  • I shall be that poet, Madame, if I can despoil myself of reason and of conceit.

    The Red Lily, Complete Anatole France
  • One there was, Mustapha Mirza, a Persian, who came hither to despoil me.

  • For many years the castle was left at the mercy of all who cared to despoil it.

    Motor tours in Yorkshire Mrs. Rodolph Stawell
British Dictionary definitions for despoil


(transitive) to strip or deprive by force; plunder; rob; loot
Derived Forms
despoiler, noun
despoilment, noun
Word Origin
C13: from Old French despoillier, from Latin dēspoliāre, from de- + spoliāre to rob (esp of clothing); see spoil
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for despoil

c.1300, from Old French despoillier (12c., Modern French dépouiller) "to strip, rob, deprive of, steal, borrow," from Latin despoliare "to rob, despoil, plunder," from de- "entirely" (see de-) + spoliare "to strip of clothing, rob," from spolium "armor, booty" (see spoil (v.)). Related: Despoiled; despoiling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for despoil

Word Value for despoil

Scrabble Words With Friends