View synonyms for devastate


[ dev-uh-steyt ]

verb (used with object)

, dev·as·tat·ed, dev·as·tat·ing.
  1. to lay waste; render desolate:

    The invaders devastated the city.

    Synonyms: level, ruin, raze, despoil, sack, destroy

    Antonyms: develop, erect, create

  2. to overwhelm, as with grief or dismay: Those rumors appeared to have devastated her.

    We are devastated by this news and deeply saddened by the unexpected loss of our friend.

    Those rumors appeared to have devastated her.


/ ˈdɛvəˌsteɪt /


  1. to lay waste or make desolate; ravage; destroy
  2. to confound or overwhelm, as with grief or shock

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Derived Forms

  • ˈdevasˌtator, noun
  • ˌdevasˈtation, noun
  • ˈdevasˌtative, adjective

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Other Words From

  • dev·as·ta·tive adjective
  • dev·as·ta·tor noun

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Word History and Origins

Origin of devastate1

First recorded in 1630–40; from Latin dēvastātus “laid waste” (past participle of dēvastāre ), equivalent to dē- + vast(āre) “to lay waste” (akin to vastus “empty”) + -ātus; de-, waste ( def ), -ate 1

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Word History and Origins

Origin of devastate1

C17: from Latin dēvastāre, from de- + vastāre to ravage; related to vastus waste, empty

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Synonym Study

See ravage.

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Example Sentences

It devastated the Americas in the early 1500s after being introduced through contact with Europe.

From Vox

The Covid-19 pandemic has devastated sports TV ratings and squeezed advertising budgets.

From Quartz

The government of Juan Orlando Hernández has not done all of the work it said it would do in the areas affected by the natural phenomena that devastated the country last year.

Many women of color are essential workers and work in industries that have been completely devastated by the pandemic, while others — in order to care for their kids — have had to make the difficult decision to leave their jobs altogether.

Late last year, I was devastated to learn that Caracas was closing its East Village home after almost two decades.

From Eater

Grotesque profiteering aside, life release ceremonies can devastate the eco-system.

If Russian President Vladimir Putin is preparing for a new offensive, he could devastate Ukrainian forces.

A Grad is a multiple rocket launcher designed to devastate a defined but extensive area.

Kenneth recognizes the terrible truths of our existence: that gun violence will continue to devastate and degrade everyone.

They'd devastate priorities like education, energy, and medical research.

Weeds began to devastate her garden, and Wilfred used to look over the fence and wish uncle Jim would do something.

They would burn for weeks at a stretch, and devastate hundreds of miles of country.

Kindly but firmly he protected his own seclusion, and he permitted no man, in Emerson's phrase, to devastate his day.

After the Spanish came the Americans, patrolling their ditches with guns lest the Apaches devastate their fields.

In certain years cockchafers multiply in such a frightful manner that they devastate the whole vegetation of a country.


Related Words




de Varonadevastated