[ spoh-lee-ey-shuh n ]
/ ˌspoʊ liˈeɪ ʃən /


the act or an instance of plundering or despoiling.
authorized plundering of neutrals at sea in time of war.
Law. the destruction or material alteration of a bill of exchange, will, or the like.
the act of spoiling or damaging something.

Nearby words

  1. spokesperson,
  2. spokeswoman,
  3. spokewise,
  4. spolia opima,
  5. spoliate,
  6. spondaic,
  7. spondee,
  8. spondulicks,
  9. spondulix,
  10. spondylalgia

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

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for spoliation

British Dictionary definitions for spoliation


/ (ˌspəʊlɪˈeɪʃən) /


the act or an instance of despoiling or plundering
the authorized seizure or plundering of neutral vessels on the seas by a belligerent state in time of war
law the material alteration of a document so as to render it invalid
English ecclesiastical law the taking of the fruits of a benefice by a person not entitled to them
Derived Formsspoliatory, adjective

Word Origin for spoliation

C14: from Latin spoliātiō, from spoliāre to spoil

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 spoliation



c.1400, from Latin spoliationem (nominative spoliatio) "a robbing, plundering, pillaging," noun of action from spoliare "to plunder, rob" (see spoil).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper