Definition of despoil in English:



  • Steal or violently remove valuable or attractive possessions from; plunder.

    ‘the church was despoiled of its marble wall covering’
    • ‘When I spotted a deer on a hike, I took it as a sort of assurance that not everything has been despoiled and that the natural order remains at least somewhat intact.’
    • ‘They claim it despoils the environment and denies human rights.’
    • ‘Plastic and organic waste clogs rivers, despoils the environment and fouls the seas.’
    • ‘The pollution caused by these companies despoils the environment for local communities, and some pollutants put wildlife and human health at risk.’
    • ‘Their place in the world has been stolen; they've been despoiled of their work and their land.’
    • ‘This is not a charter for despoiling the countryside.’
    • ‘A caricature of greatness despoils the memory.’
    • ‘If you despoil a whole town, if you wreck the environment for thousands of people, somebody's going to describe you as an entrepreneurial genius.’
    • ‘And at the same time as risking their lives, the youngsters are despoiling one of the area's beloved landscape features.’
    • ‘If humankind was able, finally, to make industrial progress without the factory conditions of the 19th Century; surely we have the wit and will to develop economically without despoiling the very environment we depend upon.’
    • ‘A massive expansion of wind power involving thousands of new turbines will go ahead despite increasingly bitter wrangling over claims that they are despoiling Britain's countryside.’
    • ‘Some of the country's finest beaches are despoiled during the summer, with discarded nappies, bottles, crisp packets and even animal carcases.’
    • ‘By our greed, we had despoiled the environment and were consuming a disproportionate share of the world's wealth and resources.’
    • ‘Since arriving back, he said he seen numerous examples of beauty spots being despoiled.’
    • ‘The facade is vandalised - not a single pane of glass remains and graffiti despoils the faience tiling - and also has extensive vegetation sprouting from the most unlikely places.’
    • ‘Having huge 63 foot high telecommunications poles despoiling our environment is not acceptable to residents.’
    • ‘However, lack of law enforcement in the area is leading to both visitors and investors despoiling the pristine area.’
    • ‘Many have reverted to despoiling the nearest remaining forest for firewood.’
    • ‘These atrocities are despoiling our people and our paradise as hope dwindles.’
    • ‘We face a planet that is despoiled and impoverished.’
    rob, strip, deprive, dispossess, denude, divest, relieve, clean out
    plunder, pillage, rob, ravage, harry, maraud, ravish, rape, raid, ransack, loot, sack, rifle
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Middle English: from Old French despoillier, from Latin despoliare rob, plunder (from spolia spoil).