Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • transitive verb To lay waste; destroy.
  • transitive verb To overwhelm; confound; stun.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To lay waste; ravage; make desolate.
  • Synonyms To harry, waste, strip, pillage, plunder.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To lay waste; to ravage; to desolate.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb To ruin many or all things over a large area, such as most or all buildings of a city, or cities of a region, or trees of a forest.
  • verb To destroy a whole collection of related ideas, beliefs, and strongly held opinions.
  • verb To break beyond recovery or repair so that the only options are abandonment or the clearing away of useless remains (if any) and starting over.

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

  • verb overwhelm or overpower
  • verb cause extensive destruction or ruin utterly

Etymologies

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

[Latin dēvāstāre, dēvāstāt- : dē-, de- + vāstāre, to lay waste (from vāstus, empty, desolate; see euə- in Indo-European roots).]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin dēvastātus, perfect passive participle of dēvastō, from dē- (augmentative prefix) + vastō ("I destroy, I lay waste to").

Examples

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