Definition of despoil in US English:

despoil

verb

[with object]
  • 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.’
    • ‘We face a planet that is despoiled and impoverished.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Their place in the world has been stolen; they've been despoiled of their work and their land.’
    • ‘A caricature of greatness despoils the memory.’
    • ‘Plastic and organic waste clogs rivers, despoils the environment and fouls the seas.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘And at the same time as risking their lives, the youngsters are despoiling one of the area's beloved landscape features.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Some of the country's finest beaches are despoiled during the summer, with discarded nappies, bottles, crisp packets and even animal carcases.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The pollution caused by these companies despoils the environment for local communities, and some pollutants put wildlife and human health at risk.’
    • ‘Many have reverted to despoiling the nearest remaining forest for firewood.’
    • ‘By our greed, we had despoiled the environment and were consuming a disproportionate share of the world's wealth and resources.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘These atrocities are despoiling our people and our paradise as hope dwindles.’
    • ‘This is not a charter for despoiling the countryside.’
    • ‘Since arriving back, he said he seen numerous examples of beauty spots being despoiled.’
    plunder, pillage, rob, ravage, harry, maraud, ravish, rape, raid, ransack, loot, sack, rifle
    rob, strip, deprive, dispossess, denude, divest, relieve, clean out
    View synonyms

Origin

Middle English: from Old French despoillier, from Latin despoliare ‘rob, plunder’ (from spolia ‘spoil’).

Pronunciation

despoil

/dəˈspɔɪl//dəˈspoil/