Definition of ruin in English:


Line breaks: ruin
Pronunciation: /ˈruːɪn


[mass noun]
  • 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, falling to pieces, decrepitude, ruination; destruction, devastation, damage, demolition, wreckage
  • 1.1 [count noun] The 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, remainder, rubble, debris, detritus, wreckage; wreck
  • 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 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, overthrow, undoing, fall, failure, breakdown, break-up, disintegration, devastation, ruination; Waterloo
    rare labefaction
    bankruptcy, insolvency, penury, poverty, destitution, impoverishment, indigence, beggary, financial failure; disaster, catastrophe, calamity
  • 1.4Something that causes the disintegration of a person’s life or the complete 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.


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  • 2 [no object] literary Fall headlong or with a crash: carriages go ruining over the brink from time to time


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, gone to rack and ruin, in disrepair, falling to pieces, falling apart, dilapidated, tumbledown, ramshackle, broken-down, decrepit, decaying, ruinous; neglected, uncared-fordestroyed, ruined, in pieces, in ashes, falling down about one's ears; over, finished, at an end
informal in tatters, in shreds, on the rocks, done for, toast


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

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