The horrors of war include depredation — the plundering and ransacking of the defeated and their homes, the terrible, unrestrained preying on the conquered. The word depredation entails all of the pain humans inflict upon each other.

The Latin language makes the noun praeda "prey" into the verb praedārī, which then means "to plunder." As if that wasn't enough — they added the prefix de-, "thoroughly," to create a word that says it all. In 15th-century French, the word became depredation, but the meaning was far from refined, describing a wholesale pillaging of those who became the "prey" and continuing the history of man’s inhumanity to man.

Definitions of depredation

n an act of plundering and pillaging and marauding

Type of:
pillage, pillaging, plundering
the act of stealing valuable things from a place

n (usually plural) a destructive action

“the depredations of age and disease”
Type of:
demolition, destruction, wipeout
an event (or the result of an event) that completely destroys something

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.