Meaning of destroy in English:


Pronunciation /dɪˈstrɔɪ/

See synonyms for destroy

Translate destroy into Spanish


[with object]
  • 1End the existence of (something) by damaging or attacking it.

    ‘the room had been destroyed by fire’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The fire was tackled by 70 firefighters and comes just four years after the same school was virtually destroyed in an arson attack which caused £8m of damage.’
    • ‘In the early hours of Saturday morning a petrol bomb attack in the Farmley area of Glengormley destroyed one car and damaged another.’
    • ‘One classroom was destroyed and another badly damaged in the attack on Wintringham School's art block.’
    • ‘The latest attack comes nine months after the club changing rooms were destroyed in a fire, which caused around £11,000 damage.’
    • ‘The emergency created by this combination of circumstances is not a crisis unless there is a fire and the dining hall is destroyed or badly damaged.’
    • ‘They have tailored a harmless chemical to make it bond perfectly with a naturally-produced enzyme commonly found in cancerous cells to form a powerful drug that attacks and destroys the cell.’
    • ‘Parkinson's disease attacks and destroys these nerve cells, meaning the brain is starved of dopamine.’
    • ‘National parks are no exception to this rule, there is only one proven way to return them to their pristine condition and prevent bush fire from destroying them.’
    • ‘After leaving home he formed a pop-punk outfit called Snug, known for attacking the audience and destroying equipment.’
    • ‘These are unstable forms of oxygen that cause cellular damage by destroying important fats in the body.’
    • ‘The tree caused £30,000 worth of damage by destroying one half of the building.’
    • ‘The latest downpours that fell during the weekend destroyed a house and damaged 150 others, the State Agency for Civil Security announced yesterday.’
    • ‘The Deutsche Hygiene Museum says that of course most records were destroyed in an attack in 1945, but that still no one they talked to seems to remember anything about this project.’
    • ‘Artistic youngsters in Tang Hall, York, are playing their part in rebuilding their local community hall - a year after it was destroyed in an arson attack.’
    • ‘Eleven houses were destroyed or seriously damaged in the crash.’
    • ‘A York Scout group left homeless when an arson attack destroyed their base have found new headquarters in East Yorkshire.’
    demolish, knock down, pull down, tear down, level, raze, raze to the ground, fell, dismantle, break up, wreck, ruin, smash, shatter, crash, blast, blow up, blow to bits, blow to pieces, dynamite, explode, bomb, torpedo
    spoil, ruin, wreck, disfigure, blight, mar, blemish, impair, flaw, deface, scar, injure, harm, devastate, damage, lay waste, ravage, wreak havoc on
    wreck, ruin, spoil, disrupt, undo, upset, play havoc with, make a mess of, put an end to, end, bring to an end, put a stop to, terminate, prevent, frustrate, blight, crush, quell, quash, dash, scotch, shatter, vitiate, blast, devastate, demolish, sabotage, torpedo
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    1. 1.1Ruin (someone) emotionally or spiritually.
      ‘he has been determined to destroy her’
      • ‘Not content to destroy us emotionally, physically and spiritually, they also had to take us down calligraphically too.’
      • ‘Hugo's deep-seated jealousy of O drives him to set in motion a plan to destroy him by ruining his relationship with Desi.’
      • ‘On one or two occasions women have come close to destroying me both emotionally and financially.’
      • ‘It wasn't as if she had simply left me; that would have destroyed me emotionally at first, but I guess I'd have learnt to cope with it.’
      • ‘In terms of his legacy, a victory gains him nothing and defeat destroys him.’
      • ‘In less than a minute, he could destroy me utterly, reducing me to a tearful, trembling wreck, consumed with a wretched, self-loathing misery.’
      • ‘Either extreme may raise you to the highest heights or utterly destroy you.’
      • ‘Taylor kept secret for years that the super-exploitation had utterly destroyed Henry Noll.’
      • ‘So the expectation is that Mark Geragos has to destroy her or hurt her credibility or do something to defeat her.’
      • ‘For Rilke, the father's all-encompassing love is what drove the prodigal son away in the first place and what threatens to overwhelm and destroy him on his return.’
      • ‘They forget to tell you of this pain, the kind that will eventually overwhelm and destroy you.’
      • ‘The thought of anyone thinking the things that article said was true nearly destroyed her.’
      • ‘I couldn't ever let anyone know, it would destroy me.’
      • ‘Do everything you can to ensure that you are not so dependent on any one customer that the loss of his business could destroy you.’
      • ‘Well, he has, and he was completely and utterly destroyed by it.’
      • ‘They had been utterly destroyed by their Master.’
      • ‘I've seen people come here and be utterly destroyed because they didn't know what they wanted to do.’
      • ‘I've moved address yet again and in all the fun have managed to lose a girlfriend, a box of records and a five pound note, the five pound note is particularly annoying but the records loss has destroyed me.’
      • ‘Hamsun's hero is set on a one-way road to suicide and although he does not kill himself he destroys himself.’
    2. 1.2Defeat (someone) utterly.
      ‘Northants have the batting to destroy anyone’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘However, before I destroy you utterly, I will give you a chance to swear fealty to me.’
      • ‘Balki fights to destroy Andy Capp but will not hesitate to defeat anyone who stands in his way.’
      • ‘He still wanted to defeat Mega Man, but the idea of destroying him was becoming less inviting all the time.’
      • ‘We were comprehensively beaten at Anfield where Titti Camra destroyed us nearly single-handed but the home game was another matter.’
      • ‘The intent of this maneuver was to trap one's enemy in a partial or complete envelopment to destroy him in a great, decisive battle of annihilation or encirclement.’
      • ‘This was the Shi'Kartan revenge for their treachery, to be destroyed utterly by weapons that they would never be able to defend against.’
      • ‘He either needed to smash Michaels and destroy him at the end of the bout, or Michaels needed to get up and win the title at the last second because after all, isn't that what the match was built on?’
      • ‘The American takes the first set, saving two break points before destroying his opponent with a monster cross-court forehand.’
      • ‘Could butterflies resolve to destroy the Russian Army?’
      • ‘Yet early in 1941 General O'Connor was robbed of the chance of destroying the opposing Italian Army by the need to send an expeditionary force to Greece.’
      • ‘He then used his expertise to destroy the German Army at Stalingrad which lead to Field Marshall von Paulus surrendering his forces.’
      • ‘French retaliation on Saturday for a bombing raid that killed French peacekeepers destroyed Ivory Coast's tiny air force and left its airports under French control.’
      annihilate, wipe out, obliterate, wipe off the face of the earth, wipe off the map, eliminate, eradicate, liquidate, extinguish, finish off, erase, root out, extirpate
      defeat utterly, beat hollow, win a resounding victory over, annihilate, vanquish, drub, trounce, rout, crush, give someone a drubbing, overwhelm
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    3. 1.3Kill (a sick, savage, or unwanted animal) by humane means.
      ‘their terrier was destroyed after the attack’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It found up to 300 jobs could be lost if hunting is banned and those concerned feel impelled to destroy their horses and dogs.’
      • ‘She said Mrs Foy had acted correctly in calling the police who had a list of vets and gamekeepers who could destroy a deer humanely.’
      • ‘Eighteen years after their mad cow epidemic was first diagnosed, the British are still destroying all cattle over 30 months of age.’
      • ‘New section 57A in clause 29 provides that the court may order that a dog be destroyed if it has rushed at persons, animals, or vehicles.’
      • ‘Rangers on the island kill dingoes that appear aggressive to humans and about 40 of the animals have been destroyed during the past 10 years, officials said.’
      • ‘It took the Spence family 50 years of hard work to build up their herd of prize cattle and flock of sheep, but it took only a matter of hours for the animals to be destroyed.’
      • ‘The infected animals have already been destroyed.’
      • ‘By the end of the year, 5.7 million animals had been destroyed and the outbreak had cost £2.7 billion.’
      • ‘Dotty was destroyed after savaging one of the Queen's corgis at the Sandringham estate shortly before Christmas two years ago.’
      • ‘As a consequence, the animal had to be destroyed at the scene.’
      • ‘She refused to reveal how she intended to bring a end to the crisis in which more than three million livestock animals have been destroyed so far.’
      • ‘Nine animals had to be destroyed as a result of their condition.’
      • ‘But one of its legs was badly injured and the animal had to be destroyed.’
      • ‘Eventually, it becomes so sick it must be destroyed.’
      • ‘Residents of the area, contacted by phone, confirmed that thousands of animals had been destroyed but said they didn't know why.’
      • ‘Going on the British example, the rest would probably not be compensated at all if their animals had to be destroyed.’
      • ‘The government is paying full market value to the farmers for the animals that are being destroyed.’
      kill, kill off, put down, put to sleep, slaughter, terminate, exterminate
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Middle English from Old French destruire, based on Latin destruere, from de- (expressing reversal) + struere ‘build’.