- a person or thing that destroys.
- a fast, relatively small, warship armed mainly with 5-inch (13-cm) guns.
- a small fast lightly armoured but heavily armed warship
- a person or thing that destroys
late 14c., “someone or something that destroys,” agent noun from Old French destruire (see destroy). As a type of warship, 1893, originally torpedo-boat destroyer; the class name perhaps from the proper name given to one such ship in the U.S. Navy in 1882.