[ spoh-lee-ey-shuhn ]
See synonyms for spoliation on Thesaurus.com
  1. the act or an instance of plundering or despoiling.

  2. authorized plundering of neutrals at sea in time of war.

  1. Law. the destruction or material alteration of a bill of exchange, will, or the like.

  2. the act of spoiling or damaging something.

Origin of spoliation

1350–1400; Middle English <Latin spoliātiōn- (stem of spoliātiō), equivalent to spoliāt(us) (past participle of spoliāre to spoil; see -ate1) + -iōn--ion

Words Nearby spoliation

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use spoliation in a sentence

  • The whole history of human civilization was denounced as an unredeemed record of the spoliation of the weak by the strong.

  • It was resigned to the Spanish governmental system of spoliation, and no one thought of reforms.

    The Philippine Islands | John Foreman
  • Having led in the first place to the adornment of their sepulchres, it ultimately caused their destruction and spoliation.

    The Catacombs of Rome | William Henry Withrow
  • Before long, however, the acts of violence and the spoliation effected by the decrees of the assembly roused widespread disgust.

  • Such a spoliation of the Church had not before taken place in any country of Europe.

British Dictionary definitions for spoliation


/ (ˌspəʊlɪˈeɪʃən) /

  1. the act or an instance of despoiling or plundering

  2. the authorized seizure or plundering of neutral vessels on the seas by a belligerent state in time of war

  1. law the material alteration of a document so as to render it invalid

  2. English ecclesiastical law the taking of the fruits of a benefice by a person not entitled to them

Origin of spoliation

C14: from Latin spoliātiō, from spoliāre to spoil

Derived forms of spoliation

  • spoliatory, adjective

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