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 Dictionary entry overview: What does destroy mean? 

DESTROY (verb)
  The verb DESTROY has 4 senses:

1. do away with, cause the destruction or undoing of
2. destroy completely; damage irreparably
3. defeat soundly
4. put to death

  Familiarity information: DESTROY used as a verb is uncommon.

 Dictionary entry details 

DESTROY (verb)

Sense 1destroy [BACK TO TOP]


Do away with, cause the destruction or undoing of

Classified under:

Verbs of sewing, baking, painting, performing


destroy; destruct

Context example:

The fire destroyed the house

Hypernyms (to "destroy" is one way to...):

undo; unmake (deprive of certain characteristics)

Troponyms (each of the following is one way to "destroy"):

dilapidate (bring into a condition of decay or partial ruin by neglect or misuse)

eradicate; exterminate; extirpate; root out; uproot (destroy completely, as if down to the roots)

dismantle; level; pull down; rase; raze; take down; tear down (tear down so as to make flat with the ground)

break apart; break up; disassemble; dismantle; take apart (take apart into its constituent pieces)

demolish; pulverise; pulverize (destroy completely)

interdict (destroy by firepower, such as an enemy's line of communication)

sweep away; wipe out (eliminate completely and without a trace)

fracture (interrupt, break, or destroy)

end (put an end to)

destruct (destroy (one's own missile or rocket))

self-destroy; self-destruct (do away with oneself or itself)

do away with; eliminate; get rid of (terminate or take out)

kill (destroy a vitally essential quality of or in)

demyelinate (destroy the myelin sheath of)

Sentence frames:

Somebody ----s something
Something ----s something

Sense 2destroy [BACK TO TOP]


Destroy completely; damage irreparably

Classified under:

Verbs of touching, hitting, tying, digging


ruin; destroy

Context examples:

You have ruined my car by pouring sugar in the tank! / The tears ruined her make-up

Troponyms (each of the following is one way to "destroy"):

despoil; plunder; rape; spoil; violate (destroy and strip of its possession)

explode (destroy by exploding)

consume (destroy completely)

shipwreck (destroy a ship)

bust up; wrack; wreck (smash or break forcefully)

kick down; kick in (open violently)

wash out (wear or destroy by the force of water)

devour (destroy completely)

get (overcome or destroy)

subvert (destroy completely)

burn; burn down; fire (destroy by fire)

desolate; devastate; lay waste to; ravage; scourge; waste (devastate or ravage)

harry; ravage (make a pillaging or destructive raid on (a place), as in wartimes)

break (find a flaw in)

break; bust (ruin completely)

vandalise; vandalize (destroy wantonly, as through acts of vandalism)

do a job on (destroy completely or make ugly or useless)

Sentence frames:

Somebody ----s something
Something ----s something

Sense 3destroy [BACK TO TOP]


Defeat soundly

Classified under:

Verbs of fighting, athletic activities


demolish; destroy

Context example:

The home team demolished the visitors

Hypernyms (to "destroy" is one way to...):

defeat; get the better of; overcome (win a victory over)

Troponyms (each of the following is one way to "destroy"):

smash (overthrow or destroy (something considered evil or harmful))

swallow (engulf and destroy)

cut to ribbons (defeat totally)

Sentence frame:

Somebody ----s somebody

Sentence example:

The fighter managed to destroy his opponent

Sense 4destroy [BACK TO TOP]


Put to death

Classified under:

Verbs of touching, hitting, tying, digging

Context example:

The customs agents destroyed the dog that was found to be rabid

Hypernyms (to "destroy" is one way to...):

kill (cause to die; put to death, usually intentionally or knowingly)

Sentence frame:

Somebody ----s something

 Learn English with... Proverbs of the week 
"As you make your bed, so you must lie in it." (English proverb)

"The moon is not shamed by the barking of dogs." (Native American proverb, tribe unknown)

"Do good and throw it in sea." (Arabic proverb)

"He who kills with bullets will die by bullets." (Corsican proverb)

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