destroy

[ dih-stroi ]
/ dɪˈstrɔɪ /

verb (used with object)

to reduce (an object) to useless fragments, a useless form, or remains, as by rending, burning, or dissolving; injure beyond repair or renewal; demolish; ruin; annihilate.
to put an end to; extinguish.
to kill; slay.
to render ineffective or useless; nullify; neutralize; invalidate.
to defeat completely.

verb (used without object)

to engage in destruction.

Origin of destroy

1175–1225; Middle English destroyen < Old French destruire < Vulgar Latin dēstrūgere (unattested), for Latin dēstruere (dē- de- + struere “to pick up, build”)

Related forms

Can be confused

decimate destroy (see usage note at decimate)

Synonym study

1. Destroy, demolish, raze imply reducing a thing to uselessness. To destroy is to reduce something to nothingness or to take away its powers and functions so that restoration is impossible: Fire destroys a building. Disease destroys tissues. To demolish is to destroy something organized or structured: to demolish a machine. To raze is to level down to the ground: to raze a fortress.

Usage note

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for destroy

British Dictionary definitions for destroy

destroy

/ (dɪˈstrɔɪ) /

verb (mainly tr)

to ruin; spoil; render useless
to tear down or demolish; break up; raze
to put an end to; do away with; extinguish
to kill or annihilate
to crush, subdue, or defeat
(intr) to be destructive or cause destruction

Derived Forms

destroyable, adjective

Word Origin for destroy

C13: from Old French destruire, from Latin dēstruere to pull down, from de- + struere to pile up, build
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