ruin

To ruin means to wreck or destroy. If you're wearing a long dress, make sure your clumsy brother stays away from you. If he steps on it, it'll rip and be ruined.

Bad news always ruins your day and a guest's bad behavior can really ruin a party and all your fun! Be careful when adding salt to your food — too much will ruin it. Often you will see ruin used as a noun that means the state of ruin, the action that causes it or the destruction itself. If you are a ruin of your former self, you're in pretty bad shape. Use ruins for the remains of old castles and Roman structures.

Primary Meanings of ruin

1.
nv
an irrecoverable state of devastation and destruction
destroy or cause to fail
2.
v
reduce to bankruptcy
3.
v
deprive of virginity
Full Definitions of ruin
1

n an irrecoverable state of devastation and destruction

“you have brought ruin on this entire family”
Synonyms:
ruination
Type of:
desolation, devastation
the state of being decayed or destroyed

n the process of becoming dilapidated

Synonyms:
dilapidation
Type of:
decay
the process of gradually becoming inferior

n destruction achieved by causing something to be wrecked or ruined

Synonyms:
laying waste, ruination, ruining, wrecking
Type of:
destruction, devastation
the termination of something by causing so much damage to it that it cannot be repaired or no longer exists

n an event that results in destruction

Synonyms:
ruination
Types:
desolation, devastation
an event that results in total destruction
shipwreck
an irretrievable loss
Type of:
demolition, destruction, wipeout
an event (or the result of an event) that completely destroys something

n failure that results in a loss of position or reputation

Synonyms:
downfall, ruination
Types:
finish
the downfall of someone (as of persons on one side of a conflict)
Type of:
failure
an event that does not accomplish its intended purpose

n a ruined building

“they explored several Roman ruins
Type of:
building, edifice
a structure that has a roof and walls and stands more or less permanently in one place

v destroy or cause to fail

“This behavior will ruin your chances of winning the election”
Types:
undo
cause the ruin or downfall of
break
cause the failure or ruin of
shipwreck
ruin utterly
Type of:
baffle, bilk, cross, foil, frustrate, queer, scotch, spoil, thwart
hinder or prevent (the efforts, plans, or desires) of

v destroy completely; damage irreparably

“You have ruined my car by pouring sugar in the tank!”
“The tears ruined her make-up”
Synonyms:
destroy
Types:
show 23 types...
hide 23 types...
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
break
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
subvert
destroy completely
get
overcome or destroy
devour
destroy completely
despoil, plunder, rape, spoil, violate
destroy and strip of its possession
explode
destroy by exploding
consume
destroy completely
shipwreck
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
backfire
set a controlled fire to halt an advancing forest to prairie fire
cremate
reduce to ashes
torch
burn maliciously, as by arson
scorch
destroy completely by or as if by fire
break down
cause to fall or collapse
key
vandalize a car by scratching the sides with a key

v reduce to ruins

“The country lay ruined after the war”
Type of:
desolate, devastate, lay waste to, ravage, scourge, waste
cause extensive destruction or ruin utterly

v fall into ruin

Type of:
crumble, decay, dilapidate
fall into decay or ruin
2

v reduce to bankruptcy

Synonyms:
bankrupt, break, smash
Type of:
impoverish
make poor
3

v deprive of virginity

Sign up, it's free!

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