Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[spoilt] /spɔɪlt/
a simple past tense and past participle of spoil.
Related forms
unspoilt, adjective


[spoil] /spɔɪl/
verb (used with object), spoiled or spoilt, spoiling.
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.
verb (used without object), spoiled or spoilt, spoiling.
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.
  1. the emoluments and advantages of public office viewed as won by a victorious political party:
    the spoils of office.
  2. 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
1300-50; (v.) Middle English spoilen < Old French espoillier < Latin spoliāre to despoil, equivalent to spoli(um) booty + -āre infinitive suffix; (noun) derivative of the v. or < Old French espoille, derivative of espoillier
Related forms
spoilable, adjective
spoilless, adjective
unspoilable, adjective
unspoiled, adjective
1. disfigure, destroy, demolish, mar. Spoil, ruin, wreck agree in meaning to reduce the value, quality, usefulness, etc., of anything. Spoil is the general term: to spoil a delicate fabric. Ruin implies doing completely destructive or irreparable injury: to ruin one's health. Wreck implies a violent breaking up or demolition: to wreck oneself with drink; to wreck a building. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for spoilt
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I went to my sister Eliza, and I said: 'Some way or another, you've spoilt my life.

    Tiverton Tales Alice Brown
  • It can't spoil anything now to tell you, because everything is spoilt.

  • "You spoilt him, Jenkins; that's the fact," observed Mr. Galloway.

    The Channings Mrs. Henry Wood
  • It is not only nonsense, but blasphemy, to say that man has spoilt the country.

    Alarms and Discursions G. K. Chesterton
  • He has only put four windows in, the villain, and spoilt it!'

  • They have failed in everything, spoilt everything, as though out of pleasure.

  • If you'd had your way, you'd have spoilt the fun to come, and ruined us.'

    Barnaby Rudge Charles Dickens
  • Perhaps if Vicky had been a boy she would have been spoilt and selfish too.

    Great Uncle Hoot-Toot

    Mrs. Molesworth
  • He saw himself as he had really been—selfish, unreasonable, and spoilt.

    Great Uncle Hoot-Toot

    Mrs. Molesworth
British Dictionary definitions for spoilt


a past tense and past participle of spoil


verb spoils, spoiling, spoilt, spoiled
(transitive) to cause damage to (something), in regard to its value, beauty, usefulness, etc
(transitive) to weaken the character of (a child) by complying unrestrainedly with its desires
(intransitive) (of perishable substances) to become unfit for consumption or use: the fruit must be eaten before it spoils
(intransitive) (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 person: this gold ring was part of the spoil
  1. the act of plundering
  2. a strategically placed building, city, etc, captured as plunder
See also spoils
Word Origin
C13: from Old French espoillier, from Latin spoliāre to strip, from spolium booty
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for spoilt



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."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Slang definitions & phrases for spoilt



To kill; waste: You wanted to hate his guts so it would be easier to spoil him? (1980s+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
Cite This Source
Idioms and Phrases with spoilt
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for spoilt

Difficulty index for spoilt

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for spoilt

Scrabble Words With Friends