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See more synonyms for dilapidate on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object), di·lap·i·dat·ed, di·lap·i·dat·ing.
  1. to cause or allow (a building, automobile, etc.) to fall into a state of disrepair, as by misuse or neglect (often used passively): The house had been dilapidated by neglect.
  2. Archaic. to squander; waste.
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verb (used without object), di·lap·i·dat·ed, di·lap·i·dat·ing.
  1. to fall into ruin or decay.
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Origin of dilapidate

1560–70; < Medieval Latin dīlapidātus, past participle of dīlapidāre to squander (compare dīlapidātiō disrepair), Latin: to pelt with stones; see di-2, lapidate
Related formsdi·lap·i·da·tion, noundi·lap·i·da·tor, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

decrepitude, disrepair, disintegration, destruction

Examples from the Web for dilapidation

Historical Examples

  • We did not see the dilapidation, we did not smell the dirt, we did not feel the squalor.

    Riviera Towns

    Herbert Adams Gibbons

  • Dilapidation is written everywhere in this Oriental atmosphere.

    Due West

    Maturin Murray Ballou

  • Our Lady suffered this dilapidation because of the people's sins.

  • The roof was gone, and every thing was in a state of dilapidation and ruin.

    Rollo in Scotland

    Jacob Abbott

  • The speculation did not answer, and the house is now in a state of dilapidation.

British Dictionary definitions for dilapidation


  1. the state of being or becoming dilapidated
  2. (often plural) property law
    1. the state of disrepair of premises at the end of a tenancy due to neglect
    2. the extent of repairs necessary to such premises
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Derived Formsdilapidator, noun


  1. to fall or cause to fall into ruin or decay
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Word Origin

C16: from Latin dīlapidāre to scatter, waste, from dis- apart + lapidāre to stone, throw stones, from lapis stone
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 dilapidation


early 15c., from Late Latin dilapidationem (nominative dilapidatio) "a squandering," noun of action from past participle stem of Latin dilapidare "throw away, squander, waste," literally "pelt with stones" (thus "ruin, destroy") or else "scatter like stones," from dis- "asunder" (see dis-) + lapidare "throw stones at," from lapis (genitive lapidis) "stone." "Taken in Eng. in a more literal sense than was usual in Latin" [OED].

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1560s, "to bring a building to ruin," from Latin dilapidatus, past participle of dilapidare "to squander, waste," originally "to throw stones, scatter like stones;" see dilapidation. Perhaps the English word is a back-formation from dilapidation.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper