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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 despoiler
Historical Examples
  • The incomprehensible in that story was the mind of a despoiler.

    Unthinkable Roger Phillips Graham
  • It, to the human mind, was incomprehensible; and to the despoiler, the human mind was incomprehensible.

    Unthinkable Roger Phillips Graham
  • The type of mentality I attributed to the despoiler may be impossible.

    Unthinkable Roger Phillips Graham
  • Never from that time would I trust myself to meet or see the despoiler.

    Devereux, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • Its discoverer might have been its father; he proved to be its despoiler.

  • Neither did the excited little woman identify her despoiler.

    My Life Josiah Flynt
  • The Prophet (may God be kind to him) spared not the despoiler!

  • She cannot banish the image of her despoiler from her heart.

  • The despoiler plunged into a valley; the Prince was dose upon him.

    The Usurper Judith Gautier
  • Nor is it improbable that her affections had been bestowed upon her despoiler.

    Curiosities of Medical Experience

    J. G. (John Gideon) Millingen
British Dictionary definitions for despoiler


(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 despoiler



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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