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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.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
destroyed tens of thousands of small arms and light weapons in Iraq and Kuwait during and after the Gulf War.
Paintings of animals and people in the Kabul National Gallery were torn to pieces, the mighty Buddhas at Bamiyan blown up, the 1500 year frescoes in the surrounding caves destroyed or pillaged and the 1000 year old Buddhist Minar-i-Chakari was toppled.
It will also help the Immune system by increasing the production of Interferon (protein substances that help prevent reproduction of viruses) and increases the ability of white blood cells to find, trap, and destroy viruses.
The best way to keep your company's data secure is to follow the advice of Thompson and Feldman: limit the type of data created or stored; limit the length of time you keep data; limit the locations of data, such as removing it from retired drives; and destroy data completely when its number is up.
The movement to destroy the Boy Scouts or America is a movement to put our nation on the same list with the 20 major countries that don't have Boy Scouting.
Leisure is one of the great growth industries on the planet: but instead of benefiting humanity, it has destroyed much of what we hold most dear.
If WHO can actually confirm that bioterrorists don't hold stocks of smallpox, it can reinstate plans to destroy variola, he says, but such confirmation will be "a daunting and difficult task, and it may never be accomplished."
A subterranean theme of Search and Destroy is an ambivalence about filmmaking itself.
States such as Wisconsin, California, and, most recently, Georgia, have passed laws to fight the rising wave of identity theft, requiring businesses to destroy obsolete personal information.
Earlier, the OMB and the DCPO figured in a discussion on where to destroy the items.
'So it is act of ingenuity and evil genius that the guy has to destroy the billboard of Atiku in the State.
But if such information were destroyed when the destroying party knew that such information would be subject to discovery in litigation, that party could be deemed to be in violation of the discovery rules, as discussed further below.