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spoil

[spoil]
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verb (used with object), spoiled or spoilt, spoil·ing.
  1. 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.
  2. to diminish or impair the quality of; affect detrimentally: Bad weather spoiled their vacation.
  3. to impair, damage, or harm the character or nature of (someone) by unwise treatment, excessive indulgence, etc.: to spoil a child by pampering him.
  4. Archaic. to strip (persons, places, etc.) of goods, valuables, etc.; plunder; pillage; despoil.
  5. Archaic. to take or seize by force.
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verb (used without object), spoiled or spoilt, spoil·ing.
  1. to become bad, or unfit for use, as food or other perishable substances; become tainted or putrid: Milk spoils if not refrigerated.
  2. to plunder, pillage, or rob.
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noun
  1. Often spoils. booty, loot, or plunder taken in war or robbery.
  2. the act of plundering.
  3. an object of plundering.
  4. Usually spoils.
    1. the emoluments and advantages of public office viewed as won by a victorious political party: the spoils of office.
    2. prizes won or treasures accumulated: a child's spoils brought home from a party.
  5. waste material, as that which is cast up in mining, excavating, quarrying, etc.
  6. an imperfectly made object, damaged during the manufacturing process.
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Idioms
  1. be spoiling for, Informal. to be very eager for; be desirous of: It was obvious that he was spoiling for a fight.
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Origin of spoil

1300–50; (v.) Middle English spoilen < Old French espoillier < Latin spoliāre to despoil, equivalent to spoli(um) booty + -āre infinitive suffix; (noun) derivative of the v. or < Old French espoille, derivative of espoillier
Related formsspoil·a·ble, adjectivespoil·less, adjectiveun·spoil·a·ble, adjectiveun·spoiled, adjective

Synonyms for spoil

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1. disfigure, destroy, demolish, mar. Spoil, ruin, wreck agree in meaning to reduce the value, quality, usefulness, etc., of anything. Spoil is the general term: to spoil a delicate fabric. Ruin implies doing completely destructive or irreparable injury: to ruin one's health. Wreck implies a violent breaking up or demolition: to wreck oneself with drink; to wreck a building.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for spoil

harm, mar, devastate, wreck, tarnish, upset, undo, impair, destroy, taint, deface, defile, desolate, disgrace, sack, debase, injure, damage, ravage, desecrate

Examples from the Web for spoil

Contemporary Examples of spoil

Historical Examples of spoil


British Dictionary definitions for spoil

spoil

verb spoils, spoiling, spoilt or spoiled
  1. (tr) to cause damage to (something), in regard to its value, beauty, usefulness, etc
  2. (tr) to weaken the character of (a child) by complying unrestrainedly with its desires
  3. (intr) (of perishable substances) to become unfit for consumption or usethe fruit must be eaten before it spoils
  4. (intr) sport to disrupt the play or style of an opponent, as to prevent him from settling into a rhythm
  5. archaic to strip (a person or place) of (property or goods) by force or violence
  6. be spoiling for to have an aggressive desire for (a fight, etc)
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noun
  1. waste material thrown up by an excavation
  2. any treasure accumulated by a personthis gold ring was part of the spoil
  3. obsolete
    1. the act of plundering
    2. a strategically placed building, city, etc, captured as plunder
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See also spoils

Word Origin for spoil

C13: from Old French espoillier, from Latin spoliāre to strip, from spolium booty
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 spoil

v.

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.

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n.

"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."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with spoil

spoil

In addition to the idioms beginning with spoil

  • spoil for

also see:

  • spare the rod and spoil the child
  • too many cooks spoil the broth
  • to the victor belong the spoils
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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.