- ruins, the remains of a building, city, etc., that has been destroyed or that is in disrepair or a state of decay: We visited the ruins of ancient Greece.
- a destroyed or decayed building, town, etc.
- a fallen, wrecked, or decayed condition: The building fell to ruin.
- the downfall, decay, or destruction of anything.
- the complete loss of health, means, position, hope, or the like.
- something that causes a downfall or destruction; blight: Alcohol was his ruin.
- the downfall of a person; undoing: the ruin of Oedipus.
- a person as the wreck of his or her former self; ravaged individual.
- the act of causing destruction or a downfall.
- to reduce to ruin; devastate.
- to bring (a person, company, etc.) to financial ruin; bankrupt.
- to injure (a thing) irretrievably.
- to induce (a woman) to surrender her virginity; deflower.
- to fall into ruins; fall to pieces.
- to come to ruin.
Origin of ruin
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for ruins
But so far, the lack of proven Roman artifacts or ruins in the town has raised suspicions.The Chinese Town Descended From Romans?
December 4, 2014
By the time villagers returned to the ruins of Khuzaa in early August, the Givatis had moved south.The Ghosts of Gaza: Israel’s Soldier Suicides
October 28, 2014
Neither Schwend nor Spitz maintained a low profile in the ruins of Munich and they soon attracted attention.On the Trail of Nazi Counterfeiters
Dr. Kevin C. Ruffner
September 20, 2014
The ruins of an ancient town deep in the Kenyan forest have befuddled archaeologists and historians for decades.Kenya Has Its Own Machu Picchu—the Lost Town of Gedi
September 18, 2014
Amid the ruins of the house some things had escaped any harm: a Waterford crystal glass fruit bowl and the telephone.Life Under Air Strikes: Children Under Fire Will Never Forget — or Forgive
August 3, 2014
And the sacred "ordinance," with all other proprieties, was left in ruins that day.Malbone
Thomas Wentworth Higginson
It was at the home of the Lemballeuse, the family who lived in the ruins of the mill.The Dream
He leaves no permanent monument, no ruins of former greatness.Indian Legends of Vancouver Island
But for some reason this town, also, died and left the ruins alone.Buried Cities, Part 2
There they sprouted and grew, and at last flowers and grass covered the ruins.Buried Cities: Pompeii, Olympia, Mycenae
- destroyed or decayed building or town
- the state or condition of being destroyed or decayed
- loss of wealth, position, etc, or something that causes such loss; downfall
- something that is severely damagedhis life was a ruin
- a person who has suffered a downfall, bankruptcy, etc
- loss of value or usefulness
- archaic loss of her virginity by a woman outside marriage
- (tr) to bring to ruin; destroy
- (tr) to injure or spoilthe town has been ruined with tower blocks
- (intr) archaic, or poetic to fall into ruins; collapse
Word Origin and History for ruins
late 14c., "act of giving way and falling down," from Old French ruine "a collapse" (14c.), and directly from Latin ruina "a collapse, a rushing down, a tumbling down" (cf. Spanish ruina, Italian rovina), related to ruere "to rush, fall violently, collapse," from PIE *reue- "to smash, knock down, tear out, dig up" (see rough (adj.)). Meaning "complete destruction of anything" is from 1670s. Ruins "remains of a decayed building or town" is from mid-15c.; the same sense was in the Latin plural noun.
1580s (transitive), from ruin (n.). Intransitive sense "fall into ruin" is from c.1600. Financial sense is attested from 1660. Related: Ruined; ruining.
Idioms and Phrases with ruins
see rack and ruin.