Definition of devastate in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈdevəˌstāt/


[with object]
1Destroy or ruin (something): the city was devastated by a huge earthquake bad weather has devastated the tourist industry
More example sentences
  • Residents who claim a wind farm on the fells would destroy the landscape and devastate tourism are being urged to oppose the development before it even becomes a formal proposal.
  • All this can devastate lives, destroy relationships, disrupt work, cloud effective thinking, and affect physical health and ruin futures.
  • There's big, bad weather devastating the farms.
destroy, ruin, wreck, lay waste, ravage, demolish, raze (to the ground), level, flatten
informal trash, total
1.1Cause (someone) severe and overwhelming shock or grief: she was devastated by the loss of Damian
More example sentences
  • The sand bird mother was totally devastated by her loss, and cried out her grief in the jungle.
  • She was devastated and traumatised in the aftermath of the Pullathomas landslide.
  • Without hesitation, the young man complies, even though the loss of this catch devastates him.
shatter, shock, stun, daze, dumbfound, traumatize, crush, overwhelm, overcome, distress



Pronunciation: /ˈdevəˌstādər/
Example sentences
  • But he also talked Cate Blanchett into daring to recreate a truly beloved Hollywood figure in Kate Hepburn, all the while knowing that if it went wrong, it could be a career devastator.
  • Shackled tightly by luxury tax constraints, the Celtics were not able to re-sign the versatile Rogers or much-vaunted defensive devastator Erick Strickland.


Mid 17th century: from Latin devastat- 'laid waste', from the verb devastare, from de- 'thoroughly' + vastare 'lay waste'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: dev·as·tate

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