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devastate

[dev-uh-steyt]
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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.
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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

Related Words

ruinrazeravagewrecksmashdesolateraidlevelpillagetrashsackdespoilplunderdevourspoiltotalwastedesecratedepredatespoliate

Examples from the Web for devastated

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • We went on with some difficulty, trying to find the road in these devastated plains.

    My Double Life

    Sarah Bernhardt

  • For property that had been devastated or destroyed a similar maximum of compensation was voted.

    Freeland

    Theodor Hertzka

  • The country was devastated by fire and to the last degree inhospitable.

  • I have no child, my house is destroyed, my fields are devastated.

    The Flood

    Emile Zola

  • What assurance could there be that the precious pearl-bed would not be devastated?

    Adrift on the Pacific

    Edward S. Ellis


British Dictionary definitions for devastated

devastate

verb (tr)
  1. to lay waste or make desolate; ravage; destroy
  2. to confound or overwhelm, as with grief or shock
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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 devastated

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper