verb (used with object)
- 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.
- to put an end to; extinguish.
- to kill; slay.
- to render ineffective or useless; nullify; neutralize; invalidate.
- to defeat completely.
verb (used without object)
- to engage in destruction.
verb (mainly tr)
- to ruin; spoil; render useless
- to tear down or demolish; break up; raze
- to put an end to; do away with; extinguish
- to kill or annihilate
- to crush, subdue, or defeat
- (intr) to be destructive or cause destruction
early 13c., from Old French destruire (12c., Modern French détruire) “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.