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  1. serving or designed to destroy: a destruct mechanism on a missile.
  1. the act or process of intentional destruction: One out of ten launchings ended in destructs.
verb (used with object)
  1. to destroy.
verb (used without object)
  1. to be destroyed.

Origin of destruct

First recorded in 1630–40; back formation from destruction
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
British Dictionary definitions for destructed


  1. to destroy (one's own missile or rocket) for safety
  2. (intr) (of a missile or rocket) to be destroyed, for safety, by those controlling it; self-destruct
  1. the act of destructing
  1. designed to be capable of destroying itself or the object, system, or installation containing itdestruct mechanism
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

Word Origin and History for destructed



"to destroy," 1958, probably a back-formation from destruction in the jargon of U.S. aerospace and defense workers to refer to deliberate destruction of a missile in flight by a friendly agent; popularized 1966 in form self-destruct in the voice-over at the beginning of popular TV spy drama "Mission Impossible." OED records an isolated use of destruct from 17c., in this case probably from Latin destruct-, past participle stem of destruere.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper