Definition of devastating in English:



  • 1Highly destructive or damaging.

    ‘a devastating cyclone’
    • ‘We're here in Ambon City, the capital of the Moluccas Island, and the extent of the destruction here is devastating.’
    • ‘Never before has a natural catastrophe had such a devastating effect on at least 11 countries scattered thousands of miles around the rim of an ocean.’
    • ‘In those border zones, modern-day barbarians can use technology to collapse distance, to inflict devastating damage on centers of power far away.’
    • ‘Because of the devastating hurricane damage, I'm dealing with multiple crises every day from morning until night.’
    • ‘This could cripple California's economy and have a more devastating effect than damaging a few warships.’
    • ‘The destruction was devastating and although replanting is set to take place - it will be years before the 130 acres of native and exotic forest returns to normal.’
    • ‘A devastating cyclone on 6 January 1897 caused both damage and loss of life.’
    • ‘Sixty-five million years ago an asteroid struck the Earth with devastating environmental effect.’
    • ‘Simply that this scandal has caused devastating damage to America's moral standing in the world, and we need to recover fast.’
    • ‘This tactic and devastating air strikes had a huge psychological effect on the Iraqis, who began to desert.’
    • ‘In fact there was a series of catastrophes, all viticultural, which had devastating effects on both the quantity and quality of wine produced.’
    • ‘Locust swarms can travel for thousands of kilometres between summer, winter and spring breeding areas and are capable of causing devastating damage to crops.’
    • ‘The Cook Islands has helped Niue in other ways since the devastating cyclone struck the island early in January.’
    • ‘The Chapman family live in Larkham Rise in Chippenham, but a problem in the water heating system led to a tank meltdown and gallons of water soaking through the house, causing devastating damage.’
    • ‘The two-week long diesel shortage had devastating effects on the economy, and was quite costly too to the country.’
    • ‘Russian armies crushed the rebellions, with devastating effects for Polish nationhood.’
    • ‘Of the 80 ships that are remaining, many of them have suffered just devastating damage.’
    • ‘It's the white-tail spider, widely blamed over the last few years for devastating tissue damage after its bite: necrotising arachnidism, it's called.’
    • ‘Outside experts said the new flaws were nearly identical to problems that were exploited by the so-called Blaster infection, which spread last month with devastating damage.’
    • ‘Limitations on punitive damages may make sense: They are among the most unpredictable and potentially devastating of damages to a defendant.’
    destructive, ruinous, disastrous, catastrophic, calamitous, cataclysmic
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    1. 1.1Causing severe shock, distress, or grief.
      ‘the news came as a devastating blow’
      • ‘His death at such an early age has caused widespread grief and has been a devastating shock to his family.’
      • ‘The huge destructive waves caused by December's tsunami in the Indian Ocean are analogous to the devastating waves of grief that a parent is forced to endure.’
      • ‘Tooting & Mitcham have been dealt a devastating blow by the news that leading goalscorer Elliot Onochie has broken his ankle and will be out for the next three months.’
      • ‘It arrived in the mail a few weeks later, and I opened it up only to receive a hellish, ghastly, devastating shock.’
      • ‘It was a devastating blow - and Marina Voncina says any chance Noel Han had of proving his claim of innocence, is gone.’
      • ‘But, in a devastating blow, his first asylum claim failed because the adjudicator ruled he ‘did not consider the West Side Boys agents of persecution’.’
      • ‘That was a devastating blow really so the emphasis was more on regaining pride, even more so than winning the game.’
      • ‘Tribunal chair Mr Justice Frederick Morris said his death was an ‘appalling and devastating blow.’’
      • ‘Like Oedipus this may result in devastating shock.’
      • ‘In another devastating blow for the family, Mr O'Connor and his wife tragically lost their young daughter, Aoife, three years ago when she died after suffering from cancer.’
      • ‘He lets us into the entire process, from the second of devastating grief to the complete inner short-circuiting of his world.’
      • ‘When I saw what had happened, I was in total shock, it was devastating.’
      • ‘Her parents are divorced, but have worked together to keep Natalie's sporting talents on target, and Natalie's mother, Karen, admitted it had been a devastating blow to the family.’
      • ‘The family were all set for a camping holiday at the end of August but their plans were halted by the devastating financial blow, prompting the parents to start a fund to take all the children of ex-Crown workers on holiday.’
      • ‘It was a shock to my family and a devastating blow to me.’
      • ‘It is a devastating blow to his family, fellow players, work colleagues and to his large circle of friends.’
      • ‘The couple married in 2002 after their original wedding plans were shattered because of the devastating blow to Louise's health.’
      • ‘This is a devastating blow to the workers, over 900 Waterford producers and the community around Kilmeaden, who will suffer greatly.’
      • ‘To lose him so young, so suddenly and in such a savage way is a devastating shock to our family.’
      • ‘Transport leaders in Manchester have been dealt a devastating blow in their fight to thrash out a new deal with the government on Metrolink - but they have vowed to fight on tooth and nail.’
      shattering, shocking, traumatic, overwhelming, crushing, extremely upsetting, distressing, severe, savage, terrible, very great
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    2. 1.2informal Extremely impressive or effective.
      ‘she had a devastating wit’
      • ‘Woodward's prose combines those rare qualities of real emotional intelligence and heartfelt warmth with a devastating wit.’
      • ‘Taking the most extreme case, I was recently attached to some absolutely devastating giant trevally off the Seychelles coral reefs.’
      • ‘As Philly moves from total dependency into the first few baby steps of autonomy, the impact on everyone is delightful and devastating.’
      • ‘He pulled away suddenly and gazed at me with raw emotion clear in his eyes, smiling that irresistible and devastating smile of his.’
      • ‘It is a stunning, devastating, and uplifting prayer book for the 21st-century Christian.’
      • ‘He consistently reached a mid-90s velocity he hadn't shown the Yankees in ages, making his devastating changeup all the more effective.’
      • ‘Every moment might not be as valuable as prayer, but it could be - a prayer that is pale or green, lovely, devastating or funny.’
      • ‘The finish was simple, effective and devastating.’
      • ‘Baek worked eight shutout innings, pounding the inside with effectiveness and sprinkling in devastating off-speed pitches amidst his fastballs.’
      • ‘An extreme athlete who's a simply devastating defender, Jones also improved his offense immensely during his senior year.’
      • ‘Lloyd has been in devastating form, kicking 80 goals this season at an impressive 73 per cent accuracy rate.’
      • ‘I think it's stunning and beautiful and devastating and I think could easily be rescued from its apparent theism and reinterpreted as a proper humanist hymn.’
      • ‘Although, reading about his devastating sex appeal might have also helped.’
      • ‘Months later it still feels like the greatest film I've ever seen, more beautiful, more devastating, more emotionally subtle and probingly, daringly insightful.’
      • ‘People spoke of Clinton's devastating charisma, of his charm and relaxed good manners.’
      • ‘Driving his point home with a sharp tongue and a deadpan delivery, Soderbergh's is a devastating wit, and he always gives himself the last word.’
      • ‘But what makes him most effective is a devastating slider, which he uses effectively against righthanders.’
      • ‘She was beautiful, with this devastating swath of dark chocolate colored hair and these massive green eyes that just watched and waited and calculated.’
      • ‘The results were devastating and impressive to say the least.’
      • ‘But, at times, when King thinks nobody is watching, he is capable of flashing a devastating wit.’
      incisive, highly effective, penetrating, cutting, mordant, trenchant
      gorgeous, stunning, glamorous, dazzling, ravishing, striking, beautiful, lovely, captivating, bewitching, beguiling, engaging, charming, charismatic, enchanting, appealing, arresting, delightful, irresistible, desirable, luscious, sexy, sexually attractive, seductive, alluring
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