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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for despoiled
Historical Examples
  • The list of despoiled landowners is a long one, and need not here be recorded.

    English Villages P. H. Ditchfield
  • Other districts have in this way been despoiled to some extent of their proper meed of honour.

    The Balladists John Geddie
  • Cut them off root and branch who have despoiled thy people Israel.

    Sir Henry Morgan, Buccaneer Cyrus Townsend Brady
  • despoiled of fortune; turned from the home where I have lived from my childhood; bereft of all!

    Roland Cashel Charles James Lever
  • I, despoiled by those knaves, the victim of an iniquitous sentence.

    The Memoires of Casanova, Complete Jacques Casanova de Seingalt
  • He had been despoiled of everything, and threatened with imprisonment.

    The Memoires of Casanova, Complete Jacques Casanova de Seingalt
  • When George and the Tartar entered, they saw the nude corpse; it had been despoiled.

    The Story of Russia R. Van Bergen, M.A.
  • They must make an effort to recover the horses and cattle of which they had been despoiled.

    The Giraffe Hunters Mayne Reid
  • When the prize was taken, the prisoners were questioned, and despoiled.

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

    The Doomsman Van Tassel Sutphen
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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