Definition of devastation in US English:



  • 1Great destruction or damage.

    ‘the floods caused widespread devastation’
    • ‘Reporters touring the camp yesterday encountered widespread devastation.’
    • ‘We finally manage to get to the heart of the eerie water delta where the devastation was appalling.’
    • ‘Much of the worst devastation on the Six Rivers corresponds to areas previously ravaged by a ferocious 1995 wind storm.’
    • ‘Seventeen years after the nuclear accident, the people of the region are still coming to terms with the devastation.’
    • ‘Seismic forces and rushing walls of water adding up to utter devastation.’
    • ‘We should never forget the devastation caused by the Asian tsunami.’
    • ‘The amount of environmental devastation in the country is incredible.’
    • ‘Something as simple as a short circuit caused all of this devastation.’
    • ‘The death toll does not tell the devastation the flood has caused.’
    • ‘He had also protected the only habitat of civilization from the devastation of the destructive angels.’
    • ‘Almost a year has passed since one of the worst landslides recorded in Scotland wreaked devastation at Glen Ogle, near Stirling.’
    • ‘Hurricane Ike could unleash devastation within only a few hours.’
    • ‘This haunting song was a brilliant musical evocation of the social devastation of the Thatcher years.’
    • ‘The president saw down below what he called devastation.’
    • ‘The scene was gruesome; the devastation was immediately obvious.’
    • ‘Research shows the scale of devastation wrought by recent hurricanes can indeed be traced to global warming.’
    • ‘In this age of ecological devastation, the bottom line in evaluating a technology is whether it is sustainable.’
    • ‘They also, like all Germans, expected to need to work hard to rebuild the country after the devastation of the war.’
    • ‘The ashes and the smoke from the devastation drifted through the air throughout the city for days after the tragic event.’
    • ‘Ivor Jones, a Liverpool-born pastor, likened the scenes to the devastation wrought in England by the Blitz.’
    destruction, ruin, desolation, depredation, waste, havoc, wreckage
    laying waste, destruction, wrecking, ruination, despoliation, ransacking, ravaging
    shock, trauma, upheaval, distress, stress, strain, pain, anguish, suffering, upset, agony, misery, sorrow, grief, heartache, heartbreak, torture, traumatization
    View synonyms
  • 2Severe and overwhelming shock or grief.

    ‘she spoke of her devastation at his death’
    • ‘Having seen atrocious loss in World War II, I understand the devastation of armed conflict.’
    • ‘Yet that was just cover for her devastation.’
    • ‘A cotswold grandmother has spoken of her devastation following the decision to close the Alderman Knight School next year.’
    • ‘Faster than most people would think possible, beauty was born from devastation.’
    • ‘We cannot express the shock and devastation the family are feeling.’
    • ‘In a minute, my phone will ring and I'll have to hide my devastation and pretend not to mind.’
    • ‘I hope that the committee hears the devastation of the victims.’
    • ‘The family was away from the house that night and came home in the early hours to a scene of devastation.’
    • ‘This week his grieving widow Alison, of St John's Road, spoke of her devastation at Gholam's two-year sentence.’
    • ‘To her devastation her father even criticised her approach to acting during the filming.’
    • ‘It also led him to feelings of exquisite pain and devastation.’
    • ‘And you could just see in their face devastation.’
    • ‘They don't need soundtracks to remind us of the pain or the devastation.’
    • ‘Time slows down in the wake of such personal devastations.’
    • ‘There was no place for her to hide from her utter devastation.’
    • ‘Many won't even know of the devastations caused by their adopted son.’