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lay waste

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Ravage, ruin, as in The hurricane laid waste the entire seashore. Originally referring to the devastation caused by attackers, this term has come to be used more generally.

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

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