Definition of devastate in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈdɛvəsteɪt/


[with object]
1Destroy or ruin: the city was devastated by a huge earthquake
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, leave in ruins, wreck, lay waste, wreak havoc on, ravage, ransack, leave desolate, demolish, raze (to the ground), level, flatten, annihilate
2Cause (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, greatly upset, distress
informal knock for six, knock sideways, knock the stuffing out of



Pronunciation: /ˈdɛvəsteɪtə/
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

Line breaks: dev¦as|tate

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