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In general, to ruin completely; may include a taking. To ruin the structure, organic existence, or condition of a thing; to demolish; to injure or mutilate beyond possibility of use; to nullify.

As used in policies of insurance, in leases, and in maritime law, and under various statutes, this term is often applied to an act that renders the subject useless for its intended purpose, though it does not literally demolish or annihilate it.

In relation to wills, contracts, and other documents, the term destroy does not mean the annihilation of the instrument or its resolution into other forms of matter, but a destruction of its legal efficacy, which may be by cancellation, obliterating, tearing into fragments, and so on.


(Efface), verb abort, annihilate, blast, blight, blot out, break to pieces, bring to ruin, burn, consume, corrode, deal destruction, decimate, deface, demolish, destruct, destruere, devastate, devour, diruere, dissolve, do away with, eliminate, eradicate, erase, expunge, exterminate, extinguish, extirpate, gut, kill, lay waste, level, liquidate, murder, mutilate, overthrow, overturn, perdere, pulverize, put to death, quell, ravage, raze, reduce to nothing, rend, rub out, ruin, ruinate, scratch out, slay, subvert, uproot, waste, wipe out, wreck
Associated concepts: destroy a will, fraudulently destroyed, lost or destroyed


(Void), verb abolish, annul, break up, bring to naught, completely end, dismantle, extinguish, invalidate, make null, nullify, put an end to, render ineffective, unmake
Associated concepts: destruction of contingent remainders
See also: abandon, abate, abolish, abrogate, annul, break, condemn, consume, countervail, damage, deface, defeat, denounce, devastate, discontinue, dispatch, dissolve, eliminate, eradicate, expunge, extinguish, extirpate, impair, injure, kill, mistreat, murder, negate, obliterate, overcome, overturn, overwhelm, pillage, pollute, prejudice, prey, quash, refute, rescind, slay, spoil, stifle, subvert, surmount, terminate, upset, vitiate
References in periodicals archive ?
interceptor missiles and then destroy the United States with a second volley of ICBMs.
Mike Kelley, "What Destroy All Monsters Means to Me," Destroy All Monsters Magazine 1 (1976), reprinted in Destroy All Monsters: Geisha This, published in conjunction with the exhibition "Destroy All Monsters," Book Beat Gallery, Oak Park, MI, 1995.
Despite a thick cake-frosting of artiness, Search and Destroy is an artless act of self-indulgence.
By failing to put in place effective comprehensive procedures to destroy all discarded information, an organization virtually guarantees that the EEA will not protect them.
When a person destroys evidence with the intent of obstructing any type of investigation and the matter is within the jurisdiction of a federal agency, overly technical distinctions should neither hinder nor prevent prosecution and punishment.
19 SCIENCE, reported using the toxin to destroy pain-relaying nerve cells in the spinal cord seems to block chronic pain felt by rats but leave intact their response to mildly painful stimuli.
Plextor[R] LLC, a leading developer and manufacturer of high-performance digital media equipment, today announced PlexEraser (PX-OE100E), the world's first CD/DVD drive to enable security-conscious organizations to destroy discs using a method that is both environmentally friendly and secure.
Individuals selectively destroy records, without following a records retention program.
HIV may destroy many CD4 cells, block the production of new cells, and also redirect the movement of immune cells throughout the body.
Taken together, the new findings suggest the Arctic hosts many of the same processes that destroy ozone over Antarctica.
Purchase a crosscut shredder - Use it to destroy all unneeded personal documents.