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verb (used with object)
  1. to strip of possessions, things of value, etc.; rob; plunder; pillage.
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Origin of despoil

1175–1225; Middle English despoilen < Old French despoillier < Latin dēspoliāre to strip, rob, plunder, equivalent to dē- de- + spoliāre to plunder; see spoil
Related formsde·spoil·er, nounde·spoil·ment, nounun·de·spoiled, adjective


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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for despoil


  1. (tr) to strip or deprive by force; plunder; rob; loot
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Derived Formsdespoiler, noundespoilment, noun

Word Origin

C13: from Old French despoillier, from Latin dēspoliāre, from de- + spoliāre to rob (esp of clothing); see spoil
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

Word Origin and History for despoil


c.1300, from Old French despoillier (12c., Modern French dépouiller) "to strip, rob, deprive of, steal, borrow," from Latin despoliare "to rob, despoil, plunder," from de- "entirely" (see de-) + spoliare "to strip of clothing, rob," from spolium "armor, booty" (see spoil (v.)). Related: Despoiled; despoiling.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper