Definition of devastate in English:



  • 1 Destroy or ruin (something)

    ‘the city was devastated by a huge earthquake’
    ‘bad weather has devastated the tourist industry’
    • ‘Our fine city has been devastated by the floods and many people have had their properties severely damaged.’
    • ‘Flanders in Belgium had been all but destroyed with the ancient city of Ypres being devastated.’
    • ‘But the private sector considers the possibility of an earthquake devastating our city as less remote.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Unless income can be generated from elsewhere, many tourist businesses will be devastated.’
    • ‘Well aware that North Korean missiles can devastate its cities, the Japanese are desperate for both a peaceful solution and American support.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘An ocean strike would be considerably worse, potentially devastating the coastlines of entire continents.’
    • ‘Just five kilograms of plutonium, in the wrong hands, could devastate a city.’
    • ‘The battle for Manila lasted two weeks and devastated the city and its population.’
    • ‘Some 57 countries have banned imports of U.S. beef, devastating the industry.’
    • ‘It devastated the city bringing the financial capital of India to a grinding halt.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The larger the scale of the extreme weather, the more devastating the impact on population sizes.’
    • ‘More are needed to ensure that the York's tourist trade is not devastated by a spell of wet weather.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Seabed trawling destroys the structure and devastates the communities on the seabed, many of which take a long time to recover.’
    • ‘All this can devastate lives, destroy relationships, disrupt work, cloud effective thinking, and affect physical health and ruin futures.’
    • ‘There's big, bad weather devastating the farms.’
    destroy, ruin, leave in ruins, wreck, lay waste, wreak havoc on, ravage, ransack, leave desolate, demolish, level, flatten, annihilate
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    1. 1.1Cause (someone) severe and overwhelming shock or grief.
      ‘she was devastated by the loss of Damian’
      • ‘In both, they have a passionate affair and finally Lolita dies, devastating her lover.’
      • ‘I think I speak for many Australians here when I say we were devastated by the attack.’
      • ‘He is utterly devastated that people now think he is a drugs dealer.’
      • ‘Nothing like this tragedy has happened to me before and I am devastated.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She was devastated and traumatised in the aftermath of the Pullathomas landslide.’
      • ‘The family were devastated and two years after they are still trying to cope.’
      • ‘Conversely, we've gotten an e-mail that says, ‘Just the thought of making fun of eating disorders devastates me.’’
      • ‘Clearly, Aggie's mother and father were absolutely devastated at the loss of their daughter.’
      • ‘‘I see how the social programs are devastating the people around here,’ he said.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The lawmakers heard clear evidence that the exploitation of illegal labor is simply devastating American workers.’
      • ‘When I got home he'd questioned me and I'd refused to tell, even though I was devastated by it.’
      • ‘We were devastated, and at first were unable to think about another dog.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The sand bird mother was totally devastated by her loss, and cried out her grief in the jungle.’
      • ‘A training ride accident left one cyclist dead and five more critically or seriously injured, devastating the Australian women's team.’
      shatter, shock, stun, daze, dumbfound, traumatize, crush, overwhelm, overcome, greatly upset, distress
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Mid 17th century: from Latin devastat- laid waste from the verb devastare, from de- thoroughly + vastare lay waste.