Dictionary.com
definitions
  • synonyms

devastate

[dev-uh-steyt]
See more synonyms for devastate on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object), dev·as·tat·ed, dev·as·tat·ing.
  1. to lay waste; render desolate: The invaders devastated the city.
  2. to overwhelm.
Show More

Origin of devastate

1625–35; < Latin dēvastātus laid waste (past participle of dēvastāre), equivalent to dē- de- + vast(āre) to lay waste (akin to vastus empty) + -ātus -ate1
Related formsdev·as·ta·tive, adjectivedev·as·ta·tor, nounun·dev·as·tat·ed, adjective

Synonym study

1. See ravage.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for devastate

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • The gale hurried on to devastate fresh fields and pastures new.

    The First Violin

    Jessie Fothergill

  • Of what use to him would it be to devastate this little realm?

    The World Beyond

    Raymond King Cummings

  • That stream when it overfloods will devastate its borders and destroy its bridges.

    Psychotherapy

    Hugo Mnsterberg

  • He grants us lands for pastures and abodes To devastate them by his iron roads.

    Custer, and Other Poems.

    Ella Wheeler Wilcox

  • Let her arise, not to devastate and to conquer, but to reëstablish the reign of peace and law.


British Dictionary definitions for devastate

devastate

verb (tr)
  1. to lay waste or make desolate; ravage; destroy
  2. to confound or overwhelm, as with grief or shock
Show More
Derived Formsdevastation, noundevastative, adjectivedevastator, noun

Word Origin

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

v.

1630s, perhaps a back-formation from devastation. Apparently not common until 19c.; earlier verb form devast is attested from 1530s, from Middle French devaster. Related: devastated; devastating.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper