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[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. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for despoiled
Historical Examples
  • As a consequence the Church has been despoiled of her property and visited with persecution.

  • When the prize was taken, the prisoners were questioned, and despoiled.

  • Ralph laughed, and they sauntered off together, and the kestrel sailed back to her despoiled nest.

  • He went softly across the room and despoiled the bowl of a spray.

    The Doomsman Van Tassel Sutphen
  • I, despoiled by those knaves, the victim of an iniquitous sentence.

    The Memoires of Casanova, Complete Jacques Casanova de Seingalt
  • despoiled of his far more precious treasure, what recks he of that?

    The Death Shot Mayne Reid
  • Her life was a broken thing, robbed, stripped and despoiled for all the years to come.

    The Miracle Man Frank L. Packard
  • It was evidently a blessing that this resort had been despoiled by war.

    Three Years in the Sixth Corps George T. Stevens
  • Alone and despoiled of everything, she wandered through the wilderness, seeking her faithless consort.

    Akbar P. A. S. van Limburg-Brouwer
  • Other districts have in this way been despoiled to some extent of their proper meed of honour.

    The Balladists John Geddie
British Dictionary definitions for despoiled


(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
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Word Origin and History for despoiled



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
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