Origin of destruct

First recorded in 1630–40; back formation from destruction
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for destruct

pulverize, devastate, demolish, ruin, level, dismantle, decimate, raze, wreck

Examples from the Web for destruct

Contemporary Examples of destruct

Historical Examples of destruct

  • You could have pushed the Destruct button and I'd never have known.

    Mother America

    Sam McClatchie

  • He was actually risking his life—or so he believed—to prove that the child could not destruct a human being.

    When I Grow Up

    Richard E. Lowe

British Dictionary definitions for destruct



to destroy (one's own missile or rocket) for safety
(intr) (of a missile or rocket) to be destroyed, for safety, by those controlling it; self-destruct


the act of destructing


designed to be capable of destroying itself or the object, system, or installation containing itdestruct mechanism
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 destruct

"to destroy," 1958, probably a back-formation from destruction in the jargon of U.S. aerospace and defense workers to refer to deliberate destruction of a missile in flight by a friendly agent; popularized 1966 in form self-destruct in the voice-over at the beginning of popular TV spy drama "Mission Impossible." OED records an isolated use of destruct from 17c., in this case probably from Latin destruct-, past participle stem of destruere.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper