Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The act of despoiling or plundering.
  • n. Seizure of neutral vessels at sea by a belligerent power in time of war.
  • n. Law Intentional alteration or destruction of a document.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The act of plundering or spoiling; robbery; deprivation; despoliation.
  • n. Robbery or plunder in times of war; especially, the authorized act or practice of plundering neutrals at sea.
  • n. The intentional destruction of or tampering with (a document) in such way as to impair evidentiary effect.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The act of plundering; robbery; deprivation; despoliation.
  • n. Robbery or plunder in war; especially, the authorized act or practice of plundering neutrals at sea.
  • n.
  • n. The act of an incumbent in taking the fruits of his benefice without right, but under a pretended title.
  • n. A process for possession of a church in a spiritual court.
  • n. Injury done to a document.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The act of pillaging, plundering, or spoiling; robbery; plunder.
  • n. The act or practice of plundering in time of war, especially of plundering neutrals at sea under authority.
  • n. Eccles., the act of an incumbent in unlawfully taking the fruits of a benefice under a pretended title.
  • n. In law, intentional destruction of or tampering with (a document) in such way as to impair evidentiary effect.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. (law) the intentional destruction of a document or an alteration of it that destroys its value as evidence
  • n. the act of stripping and taking by force

Etymologies

Middle English spoliacioun, from Anglo-Norman, from Latin spoliātiō, spoliātiōn-, from spoliātus, past participle of spoliāre, to despoil; see spoil.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin spoliatio (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Striking a pleading for negligent spoliation is a drastic sanction that is appropriate only where the missing evidence deprive [s] the moving party of the ability to establish his or her defense or case.

    Fourth Department

  • Let us, then, endeavor to indicate that beneficent force which tends progressively to overcome the maleficent force to which we have given the name spoliation, and the existence of which is only too well explained by reason and proved by experience.

    Sophisms of the Protectionists

  • Poor Don Juan found himself thus unexpectedly between two horns of a dilemma, the result in either case being the same -- that is, the spoliation of the little _pecadillo_ he had put away against old age.

    Wood Rangers The Trappers of Sonora

  • The manner in which this kind of spoliation is sometimes effected may be gathered from a narrative which we received from the lips of one of the few learned and estimable men whom the system of electing judges by the people has left upon the bench in the City of New York.

    The Secrets of the Great City

  • This kind of spoliation, thus reduced to a system, becomes then the most ridiculous of mystifications for every one, and the definite result is that each one believes that he gains more from a general market impoverished by all.

    Sophisms of the Protectionists

  • This kind of spoliation, and popular enlightenment, are always in an inverse ratio to one another, for it is in the nature of abuses to go as far as possible.

    Sophisms of the Protectionists

  • This kind of spoliation is called privilege or monopoly.

    Sophisms of the Protectionists

  • People who fear lawsuits or have something to hide tamper with evidence [Fitzgerald calls it "spoliation"] in ways that may seem clever -- overwriting files, reinstalling the operating system, loading a bunch of other data on discs and drives and them deleting them -- but are easily uncovered during an investigation.

    CSO

  • Philip's anxiety about his memory was not without foundation; his greed is the vice which has clung to his name; not only did he load his subjects with poll taxes and other taxes unauthorized by law and the traditions of the feudal system; not only was he unjust and cruel towards the Templars in order to appropriate their riches; but he committed, over and over again, that kind of spoliation which imports most trouble into the general life of a people; he debased the coinage so often and to such an extent, that he was everywhere called "the base coiner."

    A Popular History of France from the Earliest Times, Volume 2

  • "spoliation," and "robbery," and to have protected not only the "powers that be," but the great majority of the Canadian people, from the shafts of his harsh imputations.

    The Story of My Life Being Reminiscences of Sixty Years' Public Service in Canada

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