Definition of ruinous in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈruːɪnəs/


1Disastrous or destructive: a ruinous effect on the environment
More example sentences
  • For their disregard of the ruinous and destructive consequences of a hyperindustrialism without end, is itself a form of aggravated nostalgia.
  • It also demonstrates that designers and clients don't often see the same thing when they look at a work of graphic design: a request to enlarge a line of type can have a ruinous effect on a layout, but it's rarely a factor that troubles a client.
  • This sensitive drama about the ruinous effect of poverty on the aspirations of ordinary people works on many levels - as social statement, psychological portrait, and spiritual tragedy.
1.1Costing far more than can be afforded: the cost of their ransom might be ruinous
More example sentences
  • In 1648, as a part of the Treaty of Westphalia, the exhausted Habsburgs wrote off 80 years of ruinous expense and persistent strategic vulnerability, and at last gave de jure recognition to the fact of Dutch independence.
  • We have 31 trillion dollars of government, corporate and consumer debt which is over three times our annual gross national product and which experts claim can never be wiped out except through a ruinous level of inflation.
  • He said the expense was ruinous, and certainly if all estates were in the same predicament, the condition of the planters must be very critical.
extortionate, exorbitant, excessively high, sky-high, outrageous, inflated, more than can be afforded;
British  over the odds
informal criminal, steep
2In ruins; dilapidated: the castle is ruinous
More example sentences
  • It must once have been magnificent, but all was now neglected and ruinous: roots spiralled over the corniches; thorns grew from the floor; rubble and piles of fallen plaster lay everywhere.
  • The plain fact is that this sad old building creates the impression of ruinous crumbling in what should be a lively shopping street.
  • After Richard's death in 1272 the castle's maintenance was neglected, and by 1540 it was ruinous.
neglected, uncared-for
informal shambly
North American informal shacky



Pronunciation: /ˈruːɪnəsli/
Example sentences
  • Trials are ruinously expensive and without being able to guarantee that the jury would understand the proceedings, the outcome may not necessarily reflect the facts.
  • Within an integrated labour market it is impossible for one region to offer much better benefits than others without generating a ruinously costly inflow of benefit seekers.
  • Carol's accusations are paranoid, exaggerated and ruinously unfair; but the play's genius is that her analysis of the smug patriarchy that frustrates her is unsettlingly acute.


Example sentences
  • On the one hand, you can't help but be very struck by the ruinousness of these weapons.
  • The visual statement reinforces the real scope of the drama: the greatness and ruinousness of the human mind and its choices.
  • This failure to know ourselves does not limit our dissoluteness and ruinousness, only our self-knowledge as such.


Late Middle English (also in the sense 'falling down'): from Latin ruinosus, from ruina (see ruin).

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Line breaks: ruin|ous

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