Definition of destruction in US English:



  • 1The action or process of causing so much damage to something that it no longer exists or cannot be repaired.

    ‘the destruction of the library in Alexandria’
    ‘the avalanche left a trail of destruction’
    • ‘The lessee is to be responsible for insuring the premises against damage or destruction by fire.’
    • ‘Those already sold are to be recalled for repair, replacement or destruction.’
    • ‘This time, they left a trail of destruction, with windows smashed and doors damaged.’
    • ‘The full scale of casualties, damage and destruction is still unclear, but I fear it won't be pretty.’
    • ‘What cosmic, mystical reason could there be for such evil and ugliness and destruction to exist?’
    • ‘Damage and destruction of a protected plant is only illegal if it is intentional.’
    • ‘Do you realise how much damage and destruction you are causing to other people's property?’
    • ‘They left a trail of destruction in their wake and caused thousands of pounds of damage during the spate of burglaries of homes and shops.’
    • ‘Militant anarchists intent on violence broke away from peaceful demonstrators and left a trail of destruction.’
    • ‘New technologies may also be developed to prevent destruction and damage to public sculptures.’
    • ‘More than 40 shop windows were damaged after vandals went on a trail of destruction in Southchurch Road, Southend.’
    • ‘The destruction of 4 of these would have caused a lot more long term damage and destruction to their country.’
    • ‘So they went around the house trying to use their wits to outdo each other to cause damage and destruction hitherto unseen.’
    • ‘He said the damage and destruction in downtown Punta Gorda took his breath away.’
    • ‘Therefore, we, collectively, are subsidizing the destruction of our own environment.’
    • ‘Similarly, it makes sense to insure your property against damage or destruction.’
    • ‘There is no reverse gear there, and there's nobody in the future can come back and undo the damage and destruction.’
    • ‘Aerial TV footage showed a tornado-carved path of destruction, with serious damage to dozens more homes.’
    • ‘The single mum-of-three never knows if she will wake up to yet more damage and destruction on her doorstep.’
    • ‘Then again, the damage and destruction is what we're all afraid of in the first place right?’
    demolition, knocking down, pulling down, tearing down, levelling, razing, razing to the ground, felling, dismantling, breaking up, wrecking, ruination, smashing, shattering, blasting, blowing up, dynamiting, bombing, torpedoing
    spoliation, devastation, spoiling, ruination, wrecking, blighting, marring, disfigurement, impairment, defacing, scarring, injury, harm, laying waste, desolation, ravaging
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    1. 1.1 The action or process of killing or being killed.
      ‘the wanton destruction of human life’
      • ‘Who'd have thought that our lives would bear witness to bioterrorism and mass destruction?’
      • ‘Weapons of mass destruction are something that remain a focus of this operation.’
      • ‘Weapons of mass destruction aren't the issue, it's about global control.’
      • ‘In his dream, he saw the Dark Lord's destruction at the hands of a Nyra.’
      • ‘Now we know these acts of mass murder and destruction as genocide.’
      • ‘The existing rules cited are designed to prevent the destruction of further embryos from which stem cells are extracted.’
      • ‘Opponents of the death penalty in no way condone McVeigh's crime of mass destruction.’
      • ‘Weapons of mass destruction were still nowhere to be found.’
      • ‘They brought people to destruction, to be killed, to be annihilated, and the kapos were hated.’
      • ‘Rather it is the supporters of war who have to dehumanise and hate in order to justify wielding their mighty and murderous weapons of destruction.’
      • ‘So they naturally carried big weapons designed for mass destruction.’
      • ‘Weapons of mass destruction are the only means by which they can hope to deter the United States.’
      • ‘Sadly, society has become inured to the wholesale destruction of human embryos.’
      • ‘It doesn't take a terrorist bent on mass destruction and murder to crash a plane into a tall building.’
      • ‘Last week we witnessed the wanton destruction of human life in Madrid.’
      • ‘Experts said that anthrax was a biological weapon capable of mass destruction.’
      • ‘The weapons were designed to cause massive destruction, killing millions.’
      • ‘But none of this can ever justify the wanton destruction of innocent human lives by terror.’
      • ‘Weapons of mass destruction and chemical weapons had a lot of people worried.’
      • ‘This sudden destruction and damage to a people I feel so dearly for is a shock.’
      annihilation, wiping out, obliteration, elimination, eradication, liquidation, extinction, finishing off, rooting out, extirpation
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    2. 1.2in singular A cause of someone's ruin.
      ‘gambling was his destruction’
      • ‘They made her a goddess: that was her destruction.’
      • ‘Late nights and too much partying was my destruction.’
      • ‘It was his destruction that he popularized his own philosophy.’


Middle English: from Latin destructio(n-), from the verb destruere (see destroy).