[ dih-struhk-tiv ]
See synonyms for destructive on
  1. tending to destroy; causing destruction or much damage (often followed by of or to): a very destructive windstorm.

  2. tending to overthrow, disprove, or discredit (opposed to constructive): destructive criticism.

Origin of destructive

First recorded in 1480–90; from Middle French, from Late Latin dēstructīvus, from Latin dēstruct(us) “demolished, torn down” (see destruction) + -īvus -ive

Other words for destructive

Opposites for destructive

Other words from destructive

  • de·struc·tive·ly, adverb
  • de·struc·tive·ness, de·struc·tiv·i·ty [dee-struhk-tiv-i-tee], /ˌdi strʌkˈtɪv ɪ ti/, noun
  • in·ter·de·struc·tive, adjective
  • in·ter·de·struc·tive·ly, adverb
  • in·ter·de·struc·tive·ness, noun
  • non·de·struc·tive, adjective
  • non·de·struc·tive·ly, adverb
  • non·de·struc·tive·ness, noun
  • o·ver·de·struc·tive, adjective
  • o·ver·de·struc·tive·ly, adverb
  • o·ver·de·struc·tive·ness, noun
  • sem·i·de·struc·tive, adjective
  • un·de·struc·tive, adjective
  • un·de·struc·tive·ly, adverb
  • un·de·struc·tive·ness, noun

Words Nearby destructive Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use destructive in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for destructive


/ (dɪˈstrʌktɪv) /

  1. (often postpositive and foll by of or to) causing or tending to cause the destruction (of)

  2. intended to disprove or discredit, esp without positive suggestions or help; negative: destructive criticism Compare constructive (def. 1)

Derived forms of destructive

  • destructively, adverb
  • destructiveness or destructivity (ˌdiːstrʌkˈtɪvɪtɪ), noun

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