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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for destructiveness
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The Moravians' records abound in stories of their destructiveness.

    A Labrador Doctor

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

    Morale Murray Leinster
  • Here they had an opportunity of seeing the destructiveness of this animal.

    Three Boys in the Wild North Land Egerton Ryerson Young
  • Rats in the cellar were nothing to be compared to this boy for destructiveness in pies.

    Being a Boy Charles Dudley Warner
  • But see, through him, and in him, the destructiveness of Christian morals.

  • You see now what power of malignity and destructiveness it has.

    The Last of the Flatboats George Cary Eggleston
  • destructiveness—Desire to destroy, torment; harshness, cruelty.

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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