devastate

[dev-uh-steyt]

verb (used with object), dev·as·tat·ed, dev·as·tat·ing.

to lay waste; render desolate: The invaders devastated the city.
to overwhelm.

Nearby words

  1. devaluation,
  2. devaluationist,
  3. devalue,
  4. devanagari,
  5. devascularization,
  6. devastated,
  7. devastating,
  8. devastation,
  9. devein,
  10. devel.

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. 2019

Examples from the Web for devastate


British Dictionary definitions for devastate

devastate

verb (tr)

to lay waste or make desolate; ravage; destroy
to confound or overwhelm, as with grief or shock
Derived Formsdevastation, noundevastative, adjectivedevastator, noun

Word Origin for devastate

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

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper