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

  • adj. Causing or apt to cause ruin; destructive.
  • adj. Falling to ruin; dilapidated or decayed.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Causing ruin; destructive, calamitous

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Causing, or tending to cause, ruin; destructive; baneful; pernicious.
  • adj. Characterized by ruin; ruined; dilapidated.
  • adj. Composed of, or consisting in, ruins.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Fallen to ruin; decayed; dilapidated.
  • Composed of ruins; consisting in ruins.
  • Destructive; baneful; pernicious; bringing or tending to bring ruin.

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

  • adj. causing injury or blight; especially affecting with sudden violence or plague or ruin
  • adj. extremely harmful; bringing physical or financial ruin


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • A federal judge has determined that gas pipline manager El Paso did indeed limit natural gas supplies to California, resulting in ruinous prices, rolling blackouts, and smug Cato Institute flaks wagging their fingers at hot-tubbers and environmentalists.

    Boing Boing: September 22, 2002 - September 28, 2002 Archives

  • Now, the cathedral which crowns the hill, roofless and ruinous, is only imposing from a distance, and a part of it is used for the storage of marine or lighthouse stores under our prosaic and irreverent rule.

    The Golden Chersonese and the Way Thither

  • As for the budget, by allowing the continuing resolution to pass unhindered, the Republicans have in effect agreed to maintain spending at levels they describe as ruinous for the time being.

    The Economist: Correspondent's diary

  • The storm is following what's being described as a ruinous path, similar to the one carved out by Hurricane Ivan just ten months ago.

    CNN Transcript Jul 10, 2005

  • _Khan Yunas_ is a hamlet of unburnt bricks, dirty and ruinous, which is not always the case with other villages of that material; the reason of this being so, I suppose to be, that most of its few houses are inhabited by Turkish soldiers.

    Byeways in Palestine

  • In managing their boats and watching the current expenses, the Chinese are quite equal to the English and Americans, and are sometimes able to carry freight upon terms ruinous to foreign competitors.

    Overland through Asia; Pictures of Siberian, Chinese, and Tartar Life

  • The taxes to the leading class, as the Levites were, can not be called ruinous when compared with what the

    Ancient States and Empires

  • Ambassador Edward Peck and Illinois Congressman Paul Findley (1961-1983), Guilt By Association identifies those who have promoted aggressive economic and foreign policies that have been "ruinous" not only to America's reputation but also to "moderate and secular Jews," who, Gates points out, are often unfairly portrayed as "guilty by association" with the behaviour of these "elites and extremists."

    The Source of the Economic Crisis: A Chicago State of Mind

  • Given an industrial structure with sufficient fixed costs, competition always became "ruinous," forcing firms to cut prices to marginal cost without sufficient revenue remaining to pay off investment.

    Hovenkamp on The Neoclassical Crisis in U.S. Competition Policy, 1890-1955

  • The pope could make the eating of fish, pork or shellfish as "ruinous" as sex by mere edict, and the jews can do the same thing, and mutilate infants besides, and they don't even need to consult a pope!

    Should Nickelodeon cancel "Zoey 101" to teach young kids a lesson about teen pregnancy?


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