Definition of ruin in English:


Syllabification: ru·in
Pronunciation: /ˈro͞oin


1The physical destruction or disintegration of something or the state of disintegrating or being destroyed: a large white house falling into gentle ruin
More example sentences
  • The dozens of sports that set down this weekend left a wake of destruction and ruin.
  • In addition to the physical ruin, there was the collapse of the ideology which had been so prominent.
  • After the destruction and ruin of the war years, and the climate of nationalism which preceded them, many hoped for a new model of political co-operation in Europe.
disintegration, decay, disrepair, dilapidation, ruination; destruction, demolition, wreckage
informal teardown
1.1The remains of a building, typically an old one, that has suffered much damage or disintegration: the ruins of the castle the church is a ruin now
More example sentences
  • The ruins of the castle remain atop the hill but provide little protection from the relentless mistral, which constantly whips through its now-exposed cavity.
  • Alexander the Great was unsuccessful in his aims to capture the hilltop fortress here, the ruins of which remain to be explored.
  • The ruins of the apartment buildings were quickly bulldozed after the 1999 bombings.
remains, remnants, fragments, relics; rubble, debris, wreckage
1.2The disastrous disintegration of someone’s life: the ruin and heartbreak wrought by alcohol, divorce, and violence
More example sentences
  • Because such non-moderate behavior could lead to death or ruin, such a risk should not be taken lightly.
  • Even so, I did not leave the young, brown-haired man in complete despair and ruin.
  • Like so many others afflicted with the condition, he seems constantly to seek a way to drink that will not bring trouble and ruin.
1.3The cause of the disintegration of a person’s life or loss of their assets: they don’t know how to say no, and that’s been their ruin
More example sentences
  • Ñusta fell in love with this man, but that was her ruin.
  • It was his intemperance which made him deaf to the appeals of Haemon, and which led him to disregard till it was too late the warnings of Teiresias; it was his intemperance which was his ruin.
1.4The complete loss of one’s money and other assets: the financial cost could mean ruin
More example sentences
  • He said today that he had only avoided such ruin after being left money following the death of his 103-year-old mother.
  • Now comes the news that her shifty lawyer father has only 48 hours to raise a lot of money or face financial ruin and imprisonment.
  • Unfortunately her formal education came to a stop in 1839 as a result of her father's financial ruin and social disgrace.
downfall, collapse, defeat, undoing, failure, breakdown, ruination; Waterloobankruptcy, insolvency, penury, poverty, destitution, impoverishment, indigence; failure


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1 [with object] Reduce (a building or place) to a state of decay, collapse, or disintegration: (as adjective ruined) a ruined castle
More example sentences
  • The central hub of Bondville is the harbour overlooked by fishing cottages and guest houses as well as the great ruined fortress of Portland Castle.
  • It notes that most people do not have access to safe water, power failures are frequent and the country's landscape still features ruined buildings.
  • Pigeons carry 60 very nasty diseases as well as ruining our buildings and dirtying our pavements with their droppings.
destroy, devastate, lay waste, ravage; raze, demolish, wreck, wipe out, flattenderelict, in ruins, dilapidated, ruinous, tumbledown, ramshackle, decrepit, falling to pieces, crumbling, decaying, disintegrating
1.1Cause great and usually irreparable damage or harm to; have a disastrous effect on: a noisy freeway has ruined village life
More example sentences
  • When someone is talking it just ruins the effect.
  • He orders the young man not to look at him either because as client or director this would ruin the effect he wants to achieve.
  • What drives them to subvert science, lie about the sources of the harm done, ruin countless lives?
wreck, destroy, spoil, mar, blight, shatter, dash, torpedo, scotch, mess up; sabotage
informal screw up, foul up, put the kibosh on, nix, scupper, scuttle
1.2Reduce to a state of poverty: they were ruined by the highest interest rates this century
More example sentences
  • He was much in demand for occasional music but died in poverty, ruined by his attempts to find the philosopher's stone.
  • Dreverhaven seemingly hinders him at every turn, undermining his successes out of spite, trying to break his will and ruin him financially.
  • Braddock had all his money tied up in stocks and the crash left him ruined.
bankrupt, make insolvent, impoverish, pauperize, wipe out, break, cripple, devastate; bring someone to their knees
2 [no object] literary Fall headlong or with a crash: carriages go ruining over the brink from time to time


Middle English (in the sense 'collapse of a building'): from Old French ruine, from Latin ruina, from ruere 'to fall'.


in ruins

In a state of complete disorder or disintegration: the economy was in ruins
More example sentences
  • Built in the late 1400s, this Norman tower house was in ruins when Hurley started his labour of love.
  • As of early June, the town was still in ruins, and no economy activity had resumed.
  • A little girl's Christmas is in ruins after burglars broke into a house and stole her presents.
derelict, ruined, in disrepair, falling to pieces, dilapidated, tumbledown, ramshackle, decrepit, decaying, ruinousdestroyed, ruined, in pieces, over, finished

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