When something self-destructs, it destroys itself. In the military, weapons such as land mines are intended to self-destruct.

There are bombs and rocket boosters that are programmed to self-destruct as they perform their jobs, and you can also use this verb in a figurative way when someone acts in a way that harms themselves. If your friend is missing school, failing tests, and alienating his friends, you might worry that you're watching him self-destruct. The first known use of self-destruct was in the 1960s TV show "Mission: Impossible."

Definitions of self-destruct
  1. verb
    do away with oneself or itself
    “The machine will self-destruct if you tamper with it”
    synonyms: self-destroy
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    type of:
    destroy, destruct
    do away with, cause the destruction or undoing of
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