from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- transitive v. To ruin completely; spoil: The ancient manuscripts were destroyed by fire.
- transitive v. To tear down or break up; demolish. See Synonyms at ruin.
- transitive v. To do away with; put an end to: "In crowded populations, poverty destroys the possibility of cleanliness” ( George Bernard Shaw).
- transitive v. To kill: destroy a rabid dog.
- transitive v. To subdue or defeat completely; crush: The rebel forces were destroyed in battle.
- transitive v. To render useless or ineffective: destroyed the testimony of the prosecution's chief witness.
- intransitive v. To be destructive; cause destruction: "Too much money destroys as surely as too little” ( John Simon).
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- v. To damage beyond use or repair.
- v. To cause destruction.
- v. To neutralize, undo a property or condition.
- v. To put down or euthanize.
- v. To defeat soundly.
- v. To remove data.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- transitive v. To unbuild; to pull or tear down; to separate virulently into its constituent parts; to break up the structure and organic existence of; to demolish.
- transitive v. To ruin; to bring to naught; to put an end to; to annihilate; to consume.
- transitive v. To put an end to the existence, prosperity, or beauty of; to kill.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- To pull down; unbuild (that which has been built or constructed); demolish: as, to destroy a building or a fortification; to destroy a city.
- To overthrow; lay waste; ruin; make desolate.
- To kill; slay; extirpate: applied to men or animals.
- To bring to naught; put an end to; annihilate; obliterate entirely; cause to cease, or to cease to be: as, to destroy one's happiness or peace of mind by worry.
- To counteract or render of no avail; take away, detract from, or vitiate the power, force, value, use, or beauty of; ruin; spoil: as, to destroy a person's influence.
- To refute; disprove.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- v. destroy completely; damage irreparably
- v. put (an animal) to death
- v. do away with, cause the destruction or undoing of
- v. defeat soundly
Middle English destroien, from Old French destruire, from Vulgar Latin *dēstrūgere, back-formation from Latin dēstrūctus, past participle of dēstruere, to destroy : dē-, de- + struere, to pile up; see ster-2 in Indo-European roots.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Middle English destroyen, from Old French destruire, Vulgar Latin *destrugō, from Classical Latin dēstruō, from dē- ("un-, de-") + struō ("I build"). Displaced native Old English shend ("desroy, injure"). (Wiktionary)