If a storm devastates your town, it comes pretty close to destroying it. To devastate is to cause destruction to or overwhelm.

Really bad news can devastate a person, or leave them devastated. They are so upset, they feel crushed. A basketball team can devastate an opponent by running roughshod over their defense. The root of the word is the Latin vastare which means to lay waste, which comes from vastus meaning desolate or empty. Imagine a city laid waste after a major earthquake and you've got the picture!

Definitions of devastate
  1. verb
    cause extensive destruction or ruin utterly
    synonyms: desolate, lay waste to, ravage, scourge, waste
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    reduce to ruins
    type of:
    destroy, ruin
    destroy completely; damage irreparably
  2. verb
    overwhelm or overpower
    “He was devastated by his grief when his son died”
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    type of:
    overcome, overpower, overtake, overwhelm, sweep over, whelm
    overcome, as with emotions or perceptual stimuli
Word Family

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