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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 ?
Each left thousands of buildings, businesses and residences damaged or destroyed. Utilities and phone service were lost for more than a week.
'Donald Trump's star completely destroyed along the Hollywood walk of fame,' wrote Parker.
"The missile fired by the army and popular forces destroyed the Saudi warship in al-Khukha coastal waters as it was heading towards the al-Faza coastal region in al-Hudayda province," Arabic-language media outlets quoted a military source as saying on Wednesday.
The new deadline for replacing Katrina-destroyed property begins on the date the property was destroyed and ends five years after the close of the tax year in which the gain on the property is realized (usually, the year insurance proceeds are received) .
The records that were destroyed represented Thompson's gubernatorial career, from January 1, 1987, through December 31, 2001.
And second, if they're going to be destroyed anyway, shouldn't they be used for a greater good, for research that has the potential to save and improve other lives?"
Still, these toxins offered the neuroscientists little control over which nerve cells within the cord were destroyed.
In Iloilo, the typhoon destroyed or damaged 7,332 hectares of rice lands, 310 ha of corn and 5,553 ha planted with other crops.
Yemen's army has thus far destroyed ten warships of the Saudi-led coalition forces in Bab al-Mandab Strait in the last several months.
Four vehicles equipped with machineguns, a cannon and a tractor belonging to the terrorists were destroyed during the army operations, in addition to destroying amounts of arms and ammunition.
Be consistent in what is destroyed. Never destroy one class of records or type of media while not destroying another.
The virus might redirect many of these cells to tissues and lymph nodes, where they may be destroyed. A paper published in the January Journal of Immunology supports the idea that HIV--at least in immunodeficient mice--commandeers a natural immune process known as homing, which causes CD4 cells to flood out of the bloodstream and into the lymph nodes.