tending to destroy; causing destruction or much damage (often followed by of or to): a very destructive windstorm.
tending to overthrow, disprove, or discredit (opposed to constructive): destructive criticism.

Origin of destructive

1480–90; < Middle French < Late Latin dēstructīvus, equivalent to Latin dēstruct(us) (see destruction) + -īvus -ive
Related formsde·struc·tive·ly, adverbde·struc·tive·ness, de·struc·tiv·i·ty [dee-struhk-tiv-i-tee] /ˌdi strʌkˈtɪv ɪ ti/, nounin·ter·de·struc·tive, adjectivein·ter·de·struc·tive·ly, adverbin·ter·de·struc·tive·ness, nounnon·de·struc·tive, adjectivenon·de·struc·tive·ly, adverbnon·de·struc·tive·ness, nouno·ver·de·struc·tive, adjectiveo·ver·de·struc·tive·ly, adverbo·ver·de·struc·tive·ness, nounsem·i·de·struc·tive, adjectiveun·de·struc·tive, adjectiveun·de·struc·tive·ly, adverbun·de·struc·tive·ness, noun

Synonyms for destructive

Antonyms for destructive Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for destructiveness

Contemporary Examples of destructiveness

Historical Examples of destructiveness

  • The Moravians' records abound in stories of their destructiveness.

    A Labrador Doctor

    Wilfred Thomason Grenfell

  • But he told luridly of the thing that had come ashore, and of its destructiveness.


    Murray Leinster

  • Here they had an opportunity of seeing the destructiveness of this animal.

  • Rats in the cellar were nothing to be compared to this boy for destructiveness in pies.

    Being a Boy

    Charles Dudley Warner

  • But see, through him, and in him, the destructiveness of Christian morals.

British Dictionary definitions for destructiveness



(often postpositive and foll by of or to) causing or tending to cause the destruction (of)
intended to disprove or discredit, esp without positive suggestions or help; negativedestructive criticism Compare constructive (def. 1)
Derived Formsdestructively, adverbdestructiveness 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

Word Origin and History for destructiveness



late 15c., from Old French destructif (14c.), from Late Latin destructivus, from destruct-, past participle stem of Latin destruere (see destroy).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper