[dih-spoh-lee-ey-shuh n]


the act of plundering.
the fact or circumstance of being plundered.

Origin of despoliation

1650–60; < Late Latin dēspoliātiōn- (stem of dēspoliātiō), equivalent to Latin dēspoliāt(us) (past participle of dēspoliāre; see despoil) + -iōn- -ion Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for despoliation

Historical Examples of despoliation

  • Day and night the game went on without abatement, the game of despoliation.

    The Trail of '98

    Robert W. Service

  • And this was a Dawson dance-hall, the trump card in the nightly game of despoliation.

    The Trail of '98

    Robert W. Service

  • At no period was this despoliation more rife than in the time of which we write.

    The Lone Ranche

    Captain Mayne Reid

  • Then came war, despoliation, and a thrilling period of wandering.

    Pilots of the Republic

    Archer Butler Hulbert

  • Antoine de Vergy had done the work of despoliation thoroughly.

    Joan of Arc

    Lucy Foster Madison

British Dictionary definitions for despoliation



the act of despoiling; plunder or pillage
the state of being despoiled
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 despoliation

1650s, from Late Latin despoliationem (nominative despoliatio), noun of action from Latin despoliatus, past participle of despoliare (see despoil).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper