Definition of spoliation in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˌspōlēˈāSHən/


1The action of ruining or destroying something: the spoliation of the countryside
More example sentences
  • It is all a question of achieving a balance.; it would be counter-productive if we were to swing from the excesses of the 80s when demolition and spoliation were rife, to a kind of conservation bureaucracy or totalitarianism.
  • Urban expansion was contained, agricultural and forest management balanced, and attempts were made to redress spoliation.
  • Eventually, this would lead to its physical spoliation, but that was in the future.
2The action of taking goods or property from somewhere by illegal or unethical means: the spoliation of the Church
More example sentences
  • Profoundly controversial to contemporaries, this was an unparalleled secular spoliation of ecclesiastical property.
  • There was also a change in outlook, as spoliation was no longer viewed narrowly as wartime looting, but as also covering losses suffered by Jewish collectors in Germany after the Nazis seized power in 1933.
  • In August 2003 the museum approached the Attorney General to ask whether he has the power to authorise the museum trustees to restitute in the case of Nazi-era spoliation.



Pronunciation: /ˈspōlēˌātər/
Example sentences
  • Unless the spoliator can meet this burden with a sufficient explanation, he will likely lose the case.
  • The third-party spoliator must overcome the rebuttable presumption or else be liable for damages.
  • All the popular organisations are invited to cooperate in the struggle against the spoliators of food supplies.


Late Middle English (denoting pillaging): from Latin spoliatio(n-), from the verb spoliare 'strip, deprive' (see spoil).

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: spo·li·a·tion

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.