1. serving or designed to destroy: a destruct mechanism on a missile.


  1. the act or process of intentional destruction: One out of ten launchings ended in destructs.

verb (used with object)

  1. to destroy.

verb (used without object)

  1. to be destroyed.


  1. to destroy (one’s own missile or rocket) for safety
  2. (intr) (of a missile or rocket) to be destroyed, for safety, by those controlling it; self-destruct


  1. the act of destructing


  1. designed to be capable of destroying itself or the object, system, or installation containing itdestruct mechanism

“to destroy,” 1958, probably a back-formation from destruction in the jargon of U.S. aerospace and defense workers to refer to deliberate destruction of a missile in flight by a friendly agent; popularized 1966 in form self-destruct in the voice-over at the beginning of popular TV spy drama “Mission Impossible.” OED records an isolated use of destruct from 17c., in this case probably from Latin destruct-, past participle stem of destruere.

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