When your little brother breaks your carefully constructed Lego village into its tiny parts, he destroys it. To destroy is to completely demolish.

To destroy is the opposite of to construct or to build. When you destroy something, you cause destruction, when you build something, you are involved in its construction. In war, soldiers are sometimes sent on missions to search and destroy. This means their job is to find a target and completely take it out. Destroy doesn't have to be physical though. If you get an F in your math class, that could destroy your dream of going to an Ivy League university and too much criticism can destroy your self-esteem.

Definitions of destroy
  1. verb
    do away with, cause the destruction or undoing of
    “The fire destroyed the house”
    synonyms: destruct
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    destroy a vitally essential quality of or in
    do away with, eliminate, extinguish, get rid of
    terminate, end, or take out
    self-destroy, self-destruct
    do away with oneself or itself
    destroy (one's own missile or rocket)
    put an end to
    interrupt, break, or destroy
    sweep away, wipe out
    eliminate completely and without a trace
    destroy by firepower, such as an enemy's line of communication
    demolish, pulverise, pulverize
    destroy completely
    break apart, break up, disassemble, dismantle, take apart
    take apart into its constituent pieces
    dismantle, level, pull down, rase, raze, take down, tear down
    tear down so as to make flat with the ground
    eradicate, exterminate, extirpate, root out, uproot
    destroy completely, as if down to the roots
    bring into a condition of decay or partial ruin by neglect or misuse
    destroy the myelin sheath of
    cancel out, wipe out
    wipe out the effect of something
    reduce or eliminate the coupling of (one circuit or part to another)
    eliminate airborne shock waves from (an explosive)
    annihilate, obliterate
    do away with completely, without leaving a trace
    knock out
    get rid of as if by submerging
    cut out
    delete or remove
    cut, prune, rationalise, rationalize
    weed out unwanted or unnecessary things
    extinguish, snuff out
    put an end to; kill
    except, exclude, leave off, leave out, omit, take out
    prevent from being included or considered or accepted
    flatten with or as if with a bulldozer
    type of:
    undo, unmake
    deprive of certain characteristics
  2. verb
    destroy completely; damage irreparably
    synonyms: ruin
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    burn, burn down, fire
    destroy by fire
    desolate, devastate, lay waste to, ravage, scourge, waste
    cause extensive destruction or ruin utterly
    harry, ravage
    make a pillaging or destructive raid on (a place), as in wartimes
    find a flaw in
    break, bust
    ruin completely
    vandalise, vandalize
    destroy wantonly, as through acts of vandalism
    do a job on
    destroy completely or make ugly or useless
    overthrow or destroy completely
    overcome or destroy
    destroy completely
    despoil, plunder, rape, spoil, violate
    destroy and strip of its possession
    destroy by exploding
    destroy completely
    destroy a ship
    bust up, wrack, wreck
    smash or break forcefully
    kick down, kick in
    open violently
    wash out
    wear or destroy by the force of water
    set a controlled fire to halt an advancing forest or prairie fire
    reduce to ashes
    burn maliciously, as by arson
    scathe, scorch
    destroy completely by or as if by fire
    break down
    cause to fall or collapse
    vandalize a car by scratching the sides with a key
    reduce to ruins
  3. verb
    defeat soundly
    synonyms: demolish
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    overthrow or destroy (something considered evil or harmful)
    engulf and destroy
    cut to ribbons
    defeat totally
    type of:
    defeat, get the better of, overcome
    win a victory over
  4. verb
    put (an animal) to death
    “The customs agents destroyed the dog that was found to be rabid”
    synonyms: put down
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    type of:
    cause to die; put to death, usually intentionally or knowingly
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