Definition of devastate in English:

devastate

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1Destroy or ruin:

    ‘the city was devastated by a huge earthquake’
    • ‘Seabed trawling destroys the structure and devastates the communities on the seabed, many of which take a long time to recover.’
    • ‘Unless income can be generated from elsewhere, many tourist businesses will be devastated.’
    • ‘There's big, bad weather devastating the farms.’
    • ‘Whilst motorists are fuming in anger about oil prices, the reindeer-herding tribal peoples of Siberia are paying, sometimes with their lives, for the oil industry which devastates their homes.’
    • ‘But the private sector considers the possibility of an earthquake devastating our city as less remote.’
    • ‘Just five kilograms of plutonium, in the wrong hands, could devastate a city.’
    • ‘Some 57 countries have banned imports of U.S. beef, devastating the industry.’
    • ‘Our fine city has been devastated by the floods and many people have had their properties severely damaged.’
    • ‘Residents who claim a wind farm on the fells would destroy the landscape and devastate tourism are being urged to oppose the development before it even becomes a formal proposal.’
    • ‘It devastated the city bringing the financial capital of India to a grinding halt.’
    • ‘All this can devastate lives, destroy relationships, disrupt work, cloud effective thinking, and affect physical health and ruin futures.’
    • ‘These attacks will devastate industrial cities across the United States which have already seen tens of thousands of manufacturing jobs disappear over the last two decades.’
    • ‘The larger the scale of the extreme weather, the more devastating the impact on population sizes.’
    • ‘The battle for Manila lasted two weeks and devastated the city and its population.’
    • ‘An ocean strike would be considerably worse, potentially devastating the coastlines of entire continents.’
    • ‘The industry is united in its belief that the proposed fishing bans will devastate the industry and lead to tens of thousands of job losses and bankruptcies.’
    • ‘Flanders in Belgium had been all but destroyed with the ancient city of Ypres being devastated.’
    • ‘More are needed to ensure that the York's tourist trade is not devastated by a spell of wet weather.’
    • ‘Well aware that North Korean missiles can devastate its cities, the Japanese are desperate for both a peaceful solution and American support.’
    • ‘The government should, if necessary, be willing to run a deficit, he said, insisting the collapse of the cattle industry would devastate the entire provincial economy.’
    destroy, ruin, leave in ruins, wreck, lay waste, wreak havoc on, ravage, ransack, leave desolate, demolish, level, flatten, annihilate
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  • 2Cause (someone) severe and overwhelming shock or grief:

    ‘she was devastated by the loss of Damian’
    • ‘This provides a backdrop for her novel, a story beautifully told of a mother's descent into madness when her husband deserts, devastating their sensitive daughter Faith, the narrator.’
    • ‘We were devastated, and at first were unable to think about another dog.’
    • ‘I think I speak for many Australians here when I say we were devastated by the attack.’
    • ‘Without hesitation, the young man complies, even though the loss of this catch devastates him.’
    • ‘He remains devastated by the defeat, after 18 years representing the constituency.’
    • ‘He is utterly devastated that people now think he is a drugs dealer.’
    • ‘The sand bird mother was totally devastated by her loss, and cried out her grief in the jungle.’
    • ‘The lawmakers heard clear evidence that the exploitation of illegal labor is simply devastating American workers.’
    • ‘Clearly, Aggie's mother and father were absolutely devastated at the loss of their daughter.’
    • ‘Nothing like this tragedy has happened to me before and I am devastated.’
    • ‘Someone we love is dead; or a child is seriously ill; or a relationship that sustained us falls apart; or a family conflict devastates us; and we begin to see how flimsy and ethereal are money or success or influence.’
    • ‘When I got home he'd questioned me and I'd refused to tell, even though I was devastated by it.’
    • ‘The family were devastated and two years after they are still trying to cope.’
    • ‘In both, they have a passionate affair and finally Lolita dies, devastating her lover.’
    • ‘She was devastated and traumatised in the aftermath of the Pullathomas landslide.’
    • ‘A training ride accident left one cyclist dead and five more critically or seriously injured, devastating the Australian women's team.’
    • ‘It was a crime that shook a picture-postcard North Lincolnshire village to its core, devastating a family that had farmed the land around Winteringham for generations.’
    • ‘‘I see how the social programs are devastating the people around here,’ he said.’
    • ‘Max's death devastates his friend, but his demand that Kevin write their story offers the surviving boy a future, built on a glorious period from their past.’
    • ‘Conversely, we've gotten an e-mail that says, ‘Just the thought of making fun of eating disorders devastates me.’’
    shatter, shock, stun, daze, dumbfound, traumatize, crush, overwhelm, overcome, greatly upset, distress
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Origin

Mid 17th century: from Latin devastat- laid waste, from the verb devastare, from de- thoroughly + vastare lay waste.

Pronunciation

devastate

/ˈdɛvəsteɪt/