- to damage severely or harm (something), especially with reference to its excellence, value, usefulness, etc.: The water stain spoiled the painting. Drought spoiled the corn crop.
- to diminish or impair the quality of; affect detrimentally: Bad weather spoiled their vacation.
- to impair, damage, or harm the character or nature of (someone) by unwise treatment, excessive indulgence, etc.: to spoil a child by pampering him.
- Archaic. to strip (persons, places, etc.) of goods, valuables, etc.; plunder; pillage; despoil.
- Archaic. to take or seize by force.
- to become bad, or unfit for use, as food or other perishable substances; become tainted or putrid: Milk spoils if not refrigerated.
- to plunder, pillage, or rob.
- Often spoils. booty, loot, or plunder taken in war or robbery.
- the act of plundering.
- an object of plundering.
- Usually spoils.
- the emoluments and advantages of public office viewed as won by a victorious political party: the spoils of office.
- prizes won or treasures accumulated: a child's spoils brought home from a party.
- waste material, as that which is cast up in mining, excavating, quarrying, etc.
- an imperfectly made object, damaged during the manufacturing process.
- be spoiling for, Informal. to be very eager for; be desirous of: It was obvious that he was spoiling for a fight.
Origin of spoil
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for spoiled
Yes, Mailer was, as he readily admitted, something of a spoiled Jewish boy.Mailer’s Letters Pack a Punch and a Surprising Degree of Sweetness
Ronald K. Fried
December 14, 2014
That kind of spoiled naïveté seems inexcusable in a clearly intelligent author who is pushing 30.Time to Grow Up, Lena Dunham
October 10, 2014
Poor Stone, like most of us, forced to share a stage with this unpredictable, spoiled brat, looked uncomfortable.Justin Bieber's Abs Cannot Save Him
September 10, 2014
They have putrid California grapes for eyes, puffed-out cheeks of spoiled plums, sweltered eggplant lips.Whatever You Do Someone Will Die. A Short Story About Impossible Choices in Iraq
Nathan Bradley Bethea
August 31, 2014
Even stories of cruise ships in trouble with leaky toilets and spoiled food are popular.The Racism of Disaster Coverage
Barbie Latza Nadeau
July 25, 2014
She justly remarks that, since I saw it last, it is all spoiled into a great big cat.Malbone
Thomas Wentworth Higginson
If only she had understood, and not spoiled, next morning, the effect of her words.Ester Ried Yet Speaking
He was a spoiled child of fortune, if you wish to have it so.
"But I can't see——" Aggie began to argue with the petulance of a spoiled child.
The third act is "spoiled, by the characteristic Shakespearean language."The Man Shakespeare
- (tr) to cause damage to (something), in regard to its value, beauty, usefulness, etc
- (tr) to weaken the character of (a child) by complying unrestrainedly with its desires
- (intr) (of perishable substances) to become unfit for consumption or usethe fruit must be eaten before it spoils
- (intr) sport to disrupt the play or style of an opponent, as to prevent him from settling into a rhythm
- archaic to strip (a person or place) of (property or goods) by force or violence
- be spoiling for to have an aggressive desire for (a fight, etc)
- waste material thrown up by an excavation
- any treasure accumulated by a personthis gold ring was part of the spoil
- the act of plundering
- a strategically placed building, city, etc, captured as plunder
Word Origin and History for spoiled
c.1300, from Old French espoillier "to strip, plunder," from Latin spoliare "to strip of clothing, rob," from spolium "armor stripped from an enemy, booty;" originally "skin stripped from a killed animal," from PIE *spol-yo-, perhaps from root *spel- "to split, to break off" (cf. Greek aspalon "skin, hide," spolas "flayed skin;" Lithuanian spaliai "shives of flax;" Old Church Slavonic rasplatiti "to cleave, split;" Middle Low German spalden, Old High German spaltan "to split;" Sanskrit sphatayati "splits").
Sense of "to damage so as to render useless" is from 1560s; that of "to over-indulge" (a child, etc.) is from 1640s (implied in spoiled). Intransitive sense of "to go bad" is from 1690s. To be spoiling for (a fight, etc.) is from 1865, from notion that one will "spoil" if he doesn't get it. Spoil-sport attested from 1801.
"goods captured in time of war," c.1300; see spoil (v.). Spoils system in U.S. politics attested by 1839, commonly associated with the administration of President Andrew Jackson, on the notion of "to the victor belongs the spoils."