- to damage severely or harm (something), especially with reference to its excellence, value, usefulness, etc.: The water stain spoiled the painting. Drought spoiled the corn crop.
- to diminish or impair the quality of; affect detrimentally: Bad weather spoiled their vacation.
- to impair, damage, or harm the character or nature of (someone) by unwise treatment, excessive indulgence, etc.: to spoil a child by pampering him.
- Archaic. to strip (persons, places, etc.) of goods, valuables, etc.; plunder; pillage; despoil.
- Archaic. to take or seize by force.
- to become bad, or unfit for use, as food or other perishable substances; become tainted or putrid: Milk spoils if not refrigerated.
- to plunder, pillage, or rob.
- Often spoils. booty, loot, or plunder taken in war or robbery.
- the act of plundering.
- an object of plundering.
- Usually spoils.
- the emoluments and advantages of public office viewed as won by a victorious political party: the spoils of office.
- prizes won or treasures accumulated: a child's spoils brought home from a party.
- waste material, as that which is cast up in mining, excavating, quarrying, etc.
- an imperfectly made object, damaged during the manufacturing process.
- be spoiling for, Informal. to be very eager for; be desirous of: It was obvious that he was spoiling for a fight.
Origin of spoil
SynonymsSee more synonyms for spoil on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for spoil
Rico Finally Paid: its easy fast money money and im welling to spoil you to def .The Sex-Trafficking Kings of Facebook
May 20, 2014
Of course I dismissed him for the day, and of course I paid him for the full time, that being the way we spoil our models.Read ‘The King in Yellow,’ the ‘True Detective’ Reference That’s the Key to the Show
Robert W. Chambers
February 20, 2014
So in episode five—not to spoil anything—Cohle gives one of his metaphysical addresses.Inside the Obsessive, Strange Mind of True Detective’s Nic Pizzolatto
February 4, 2014
At these wellness retreats, the staff will kick your butt—and then spoil you silly.Best Luxury Boot Camps to Get Fit in 2014
December 31, 2013
There are other ways in which the shutdown can spoil the holiday season – for retailers and workers.The Shutdown that Stole Christmas?
October 11, 2013
The boat he supposed to belong to Robert, and he was determined to spoil it.Brave and Bold
When we only spoil you by praising and quoting everything you say.Malbone
Thomas Wentworth Higginson
Tell me what it is, or I'll go and find out, and spoil the fun.The Raid From Beausejour; And How The Carter Boys Lifted The Mortgage
Charles G. D. Roberts
I disdain to spoil my eyes or waste my time by newspaper-reading.
Yet now she must spoil it all, and all for the Father's hardness.
- (tr) to cause damage to (something), in regard to its value, beauty, usefulness, etc
- (tr) to weaken the character of (a child) by complying unrestrainedly with its desires
- (intr) (of perishable substances) to become unfit for consumption or usethe fruit must be eaten before it spoils
- (intr) sport to disrupt the play or style of an opponent, as to prevent him from settling into a rhythm
- archaic to strip (a person or place) of (property or goods) by force or violence
- be spoiling for to have an aggressive desire for (a fight, etc)
- waste material thrown up by an excavation
- any treasure accumulated by a personthis gold ring was part of the spoil
- the act of plundering
- a strategically placed building, city, etc, captured as plunder
Word Origin and History for spoil
c.1300, from Old French espoillier "to strip, plunder," from Latin spoliare "to strip of clothing, rob," from spolium "armor stripped from an enemy, booty;" originally "skin stripped from a killed animal," from PIE *spol-yo-, perhaps from root *spel- "to split, to break off" (cf. Greek aspalon "skin, hide," spolas "flayed skin;" Lithuanian spaliai "shives of flax;" Old Church Slavonic rasplatiti "to cleave, split;" Middle Low German spalden, Old High German spaltan "to split;" Sanskrit sphatayati "splits").
Sense of "to damage so as to render useless" is from 1560s; that of "to over-indulge" (a child, etc.) is from 1640s (implied in spoiled). Intransitive sense of "to go bad" is from 1690s. To be spoiling for (a fight, etc.) is from 1865, from notion that one will "spoil" if he doesn't get it. Spoil-sport attested from 1801.
"goods captured in time of war," c.1300; see spoil (v.). Spoils system in U.S. politics attested by 1839, commonly associated with the administration of President Andrew Jackson, on the notion of "to the victor belongs the spoils."
Idioms and Phrases with spoil
In addition to the idioms beginning with spoil
- spoil for
- spare the rod and spoil the child
- too many cooks spoil the broth
- to the victor belong the spoils