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 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.

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