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[dih-struhk-tiv] /dɪˈstrʌk tɪv/
tending to destroy; causing destruction or much damage (often followed by of or to):
a very destructive windstorm.
tending to overthrow, disprove, or discredit (opposed to constructive):
destructive criticism.
Origin of destructive
1480-90; < Middle French < Late Latin dēstructīvus, equivalent to Latin dēstruct(us) (see destruction) + -īvus -ive
Related forms
destructively, adverb
destructiveness, destructivity
[dee-struhk-tiv-i-tee] /ˌdi strʌkˈtɪv ɪ ti/ (Show IPA),
interdestructive, adjective
interdestructively, adverb
interdestructiveness, noun
nondestructive, adjective
nondestructively, adverb
nondestructiveness, noun
overdestructive, adjective
overdestructively, adverb
overdestructiveness, noun
semidestructive, adjective
undestructive, adjective
undestructively, adverb
undestructiveness, noun
1. ruinous, deleterious. 2. unfavorable, adverse, negative.
1. creative. 2. constructive. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for destructiveness
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The increasing numbers and destructiveness of the buffalo-hunters had been making the Plains Indians more and more hostile.

  • But he told luridly of the thing that had come ashore, and of its destructiveness.

    Morale Murray Leinster
  • Her activity shows itself in destructiveness; yet she is good-hearted and most generous.

    The Home Fredrika Bremer
  • Rats in the cellar were nothing to be compared to this boy for destructiveness in pies.

    Being a Boy Charles Dudley Warner
  • Second to the earwigs in importance and in numbers were the white ants, whose powers of destructiveness were simply awful.

    How I Found Livingstone Henry M. Stanley
  • You see now what power of malignity and destructiveness it has.

    The Last of the Flatboats George Cary Eggleston
  • All this habit of destructiveness is uneconomic in the best sense, unsocial, unmoral.

    The Holy Earth L. H. Bailey
British Dictionary definitions for destructiveness


often postpositive and foll by of or to. causing or tending to cause the destruction (of)
intended to disprove or discredit, esp without positive suggestions or help; negative: destructive criticism Compare constructive (sense 1)
Derived Forms
destructively, adverb
destructiveness, destructivity (ˌdiːstrʌkˈtɪvɪtɪ) noun
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 destructiveness



late 15c., from Old French destructif (14c.), from Late Latin destructivus, from destruct-, past participle stem of Latin destruere (see destroy).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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