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[dev-uh-stey-shuh n]
See more synonyms for devastation on Thesaurus.com
  1. the act of devastating; destruction.
  2. devastated state; desolation.
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Origin of devastation

1425–75; late Middle English < Late Latin dēvastātiōn- (stem of dēvastātiō), equivalent to Latin dēvastāt(us) (see devastate) + -iōn- -ion
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

confusion, desolation, ruin, havoc, ravages, ruination, loss, pillage, plunder, depredation, waste, demolition, defoliation, spoliation

Examples from the Web for devastation

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Or it may be “llwyv,” an elm tree, in reference to the devastation of the groves just mentioned.

    Y Gododin


  • Again, as to the devastation of Hellenic territory or the burning of houses, what is to be the practice?

  • And now as he went he saw to it that the devastation was completed along the line of march.

    The Snare

    Rafael Sabatini

  • Memory of the storm, the fire, of the devastation of her home.

    The Golden Woman

    Ridgwell Cullum

  • The devastation and suffering ashore was also very terrible.

Word Origin and History for devastation


mid-15c., from Middle French dévastation, from Late Latin devastationem (nominative devastatio), from past participle stem of Latin devastare "lay waste completely," from de- "completely" (see de-) + vastare "lay waste," from vastus "empty, desolate" (see waste (v.)).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper