verb (used with object)

to strip of possessions, things of value, etc.; rob; plunder; pillage.

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

Synonyms for despoil Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for despoiled

Historical Examples of despoiled

  • The list of despoiled landowners is a long one, and need not here be recorded.

    English Villages

    P. H. Ditchfield

  • Other districts have in this way been despoiled to some extent of their proper meed of honour.

    The Balladists

    John Geddie

  • Cut them off root and branch who have despoiled thy people Israel.

    Sir Henry Morgan, Buccaneer

    Cyrus Townsend Brady

  • Despoiled of fortune; turned from the home where I have lived from my childhood; bereft of all!

    Roland Cashel

    Charles James Lever

  • I, despoiled by those knaves, the victim of an iniquitous sentence.

    The Memoires of Casanova, Complete

    Jacques Casanova de Seingalt

British Dictionary definitions for despoiled



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

Word Origin for despoil

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 despoiled



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper