verb (used with object)

  1. to reduce (an object) to useless fragments, a useless form, or remains, as by rending, burning, or dissolving; injure beyond repair or renewal; demolish; ruin; annihilate.
  2. to put an end to; extinguish.
  3. to kill; slay.
  4. to render ineffective or useless; nullify; neutralize; invalidate.
  5. to defeat completely.

verb (used without object)

  1. to engage in destruction.

verb (mainly tr)

  1. to ruin; spoil; render useless
  2. to tear down or demolish; break up; raze
  3. to put an end to; do away with; extinguish
  4. to kill or annihilate
  5. to crush, subdue, or defeat
  6. (intr) to be destructive or cause destruction

early 13c., from Old French destruire (12c., Modern French d├ętruire) “destroy, ravage, lay waste,” from Vulgar Latin *destrugere (source of Italian distruggere), refashioned (influenced by destructus), from Latin destruere “tear down, demolish,” literally “un-build,” from de- “un-, down” (see de-) + struere “to pile, build” (see structure (n.)). Related: Destroyed; destroying.

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