- a simple past tense and past participle of spoil.
- 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 spoilt
Clearly, we have been spoilt by Stephen Frears and Helen Mirren with The Queen.Princess Diana Was the Girlfriend From Hell. Why Is This Movie So Boring?
November 4, 2013
I went to my sister Eliza, and I said: 'Some way or another, you've spoilt my life.Tiverton Tales
It can't spoil anything now to tell you, because everything is spoilt.The Incomplete Amorist
"You spoilt him, Jenkins; that's the fact," observed Mr. Galloway.The Channings
Mrs. Henry Wood
It is not only nonsense, but blasphemy, to say that man has spoilt the country.Alarms and Discursions
G. K. Chesterton
He has only put four windows in, the villain, and spoilt it!'Life And Adventures Of Martin Chuzzlewit
- a past tense and past participle of spoil
- (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 spoilt
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."