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See more synonyms for despoil on Thesaurus.com
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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Examples from the Web for despoiler

Historical Examples

  • The type of mentality I attributed to the Despoiler may be impossible.


    Roger Phillips Graham

  • The incomprehensible in that story was the mind of a Despoiler.


    Roger Phillips Graham

  • It, to the human mind, was incomprehensible; and to the Despoiler, the human mind was incomprehensible.


    Roger Phillips Graham

  • Never from that time would I trust myself to meet or see the despoiler.

    Devereux, Complete

    Edward Bulwer-Lytton

  • Its discoverer might have been its father; he proved to be its despoiler.

British Dictionary definitions for despoiler


  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 despoiler



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