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

  • transitive v. To lay waste; destroy.
  • transitive v. To overwhelm; confound; stun: was devastated by the rude remark.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. 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.
  • v. To destroy a whole collection of related ideas, beliefs, and strongly held opinions.
  • v. 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 the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

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

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

  • v. overwhelm or overpower
  • v. cause extensive destruction or ruin utterly


Latin dēvāstāre, dēvāstāt- : dē-, de- + vāstāre, to lay waste (from vāstus, empty, desolate.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin dēvastātus, perfect passive participle of dēvastō, from dē- (augmentative prefix) + vastō ("I destroy, I lay waste to"). (Wiktionary)



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