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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 classic literature ?
Tell us,--What complaint have you to make against us which justifies you in attempting to destroy us and the state?
But in republics there is more vitality, greater hatred, and more desire for vengeance, which will never permit them to allow the memory of their former liberty to rest; so that the safest way is to destroy them or to reside there.
But take care; for she is wicked and fierce, and may not allow you to destroy her.
The early battles of the aerial war were no doubt determined by attempts to realise the old naval maxim, to ascertain the position of the enemy's fleet and to destroy it.
When you get there I want you to conquer the Oz people, destroy them and their city, and bring all their gold and silver and precious stones back to my cavern.
Many efforts were made during this period to organize the perishing farmer class into a political party, the aim of which was destroy the trusts and corporations by drastic legislation.
Aias then becomes mad and destroys the herd of the Achaeans and kills himself.
The number of humble-bees in any district depends in a great degree on the number of field-mice, which destroy their combs and nests; and Mr.
The mind at first is irresistibly hurried into the belief of some great catastrophe; but thus to destroy animals, both large and small, in Southern Patagonia, in Brazil, on the Cordillera of Peru, in North America up to Behring's Straits, we must shake the entire framework of the globe.
The vice and evil which is inherent in each is the destruction of each; and if this does not destroy them there is nothing else that will; for good certainly will not destroy them, nor again, that which is neither good nor evil.
Because she wished to destroy something, and could think of no other way.
These muscles were made to grip, and tear, and destroy living things that get between me and life.