Definition of destroy in English:

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Pronunciation: /dəˈstroi/


[with object]
1Put an end to the existence of (something) by damaging or attacking it: the room had been destroyed by fire
More example sentences
  • Attack operations can also contribute to preventing future attacks by destroying launchers after firing but before reuse.
  • Mr Browne said if a plantation is destroyed or damaged by fire, the incident should be reported to the nearest Garda station and to the Forest Service.
  • Mr Roebuck said the latest car fire had destroyed one vehicle and damaged two others parked near to it.
demolish, knock down, level, raze (to the ground), fell;
wreck, ruin, shatter;
blast, blow up, dynamite, explode, bomb
spoil, ruin, wreck, disfigure, blight, mar, impair, deface, scar, injure, harm, devastate, damage, wreak havoc on
informal total
wreck, ruin, spoil, disrupt, undo, upset, put an end to, put a stop to, terminate, frustrate, blight, crush, quash, dash, scotch;
devastate, demolish, scuttle, sabotage
informal mess up, foul up, put the kibosh on, fry, do for, blow a hole in
archaic bring to naught
1.1Ruin (someone) emotionally or spiritually: he has been determined to destroy her
More example sentences
  • Not content to destroy us emotionally, physically and spiritually, they also had to take us down calligraphically too.
  • Prostitution is a system of slavery that emotionally, spiritually and physically destroys women and girls.
  • Hugo's deep-seated jealousy of O drives him to set in motion a plan to destroy him by ruining his relationship with Desi.
1.2Defeat (someone) utterly: the Tigers destroyed the Padres in five games
More example sentences
  • And that is ‘to chase the enemy to the ends of the earth and utterly destroy him’.
  • War, its violence previously contained within law, spilled out to an attempt to utterly destroy the enemy.
  • No matter how many times the CPU seemingly cheated, or a friend managed to utterly destroy me using a lameass starter deck, I kept putting the game back in.
annihilate, wipe out, obliterate, wipe off the face of the earth, eliminate, eradicate, liquidate, finish off, erase;
kill, slaughter, massacre, exterminate
informal take out, rub out, snuff out, waste, fry, nuke, zap
1.3 (usually be destroyed) Kill (a sick, savage, or unwanted animal) by humane means: their terrier was destroyed after the attack
More example sentences
  • The spirit of the Whitehall farce is demonstrated in an incident ten days ago when a Cumbrian farmer was about to witness eight slaughtermen start to destroy his sheep flock.
  • She took the dog and had it destroyed by the Humane Society.
  • The government announced last week that it planned to destroy all sheep and pigs within three kilometers of any confirmed outbreak in those areas.
kill, put down, put to sleep, slaughter, terminate, exterminate, euthanize


Middle English: from Old French destruire, based on Latin destruere, from de- (expressing reversal) + struere 'build'.

  • The word destroy comes via Old French from Latin destruere, from de- (expressing reversal) and struere ‘build’.

Words that rhyme with destroy

ahoy, alloy, Amoy, annoy, boy, buoy, cloy, coy, employ, enjoy, Hanoi, hoi polloi, hoy, Illinois, joy, koi, oi, ploy, poi, Roy, savoy, soy, tatsoi, toy, trompe l'œil, troy

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: de·stroy

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