When you spoil something, you destroy it or ruin its quality. If you spoil a surprise, you tell the secret you were supposed to keep.

When you spoil something, you mess it up, like spoiling someone's good mood by bringing up a painful memory. Food can also spoil, or become unsafe for eating, and you can spoil a child by always giving him everything he wants, making him unable to cope when things don't go his way. The word spoil comes from the Old French espoillier, to plunder. In fact, things taken by force are called spoils, like the spoils of war.

Definitions of spoil
  1. verb
    make a mess of, destroy or ruin
  2. verb
    make imperfect
    synonyms: deflower, impair, mar, vitiate
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    cloud, corrupt, defile, pollute, sully, taint, tarnish
    place under suspicion or cast doubt upon
    blemish, deface, disfigure
    mar or spoil the appearance of
    mangle, maul
    injure badly by beating
    mark, pit, pock, scar
    mark with a scar
    type of:
    inflict damage upon
  3. verb
    destroy and strip of its possession
    synonyms: despoil, plunder, rape, violate
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    type of:
    destroy, ruin
    destroy completely; damage irreparably
  4. verb
    alter from the original
    synonyms: corrupt
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    adulterate, debase, dilute, load, stretch
    corrupt, debase, or make impure by adding a foreign or inferior substance; often by replacing valuable ingredients with inferior ones
    water down
    thin by adding water to
    doctor, doctor up, sophisticate
    alter and make impure, as with the intention to deceive
    type of:
    make less severe or harsh or extreme
  5. verb
    hinder or prevent (the efforts, plans, or desires) of
    synonyms: baffle, bilk, confound, cross, foil, frustrate, queer, scotch, scuttle, thwart
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    disappoint, let down
    fail to meet the hopes or expectations of
    destroy or break
    hamper the progress of; impede
    destroy or cause to fail
    betray, fail
    disappoint, prove undependable to; abandon, forsake
    come short, fall short
    fail to meet (expectations or standards)
    disenchant, disillusion
    free from enchantment
    cause the ruin or downfall of
    cause the failure or ruin of
    ruin utterly
    type of:
    forbid, foreclose, forestall, preclude, preempt, prevent
    keep from happening or arising; make impossible
  6. noun
    the act of spoiling something by causing damage to it
    “her spoiling my dress was deliberate”
    synonyms: spoilage, spoiling
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    type of:
    an act that causes someone or something to receive physical damage
  7. noun
    the act of stripping and taking by force
    synonyms: despoilation, despoilment, despoliation, spoilation, spoliation
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    type of:
    pillage, pillaging, plundering
    the act of stealing valuable things from a place
  8. noun
    (usually plural) valuables taken by violence (especially in war)
    “to the victor belong the spoils of the enemy”
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    type of:
    stolen property
    property that has been stolen
  9. verb
    become unfit for consumption or use
    “the meat must be eaten before it spoils
    synonyms: go bad
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    become rotten
    go bad or sour
    type of:
    decay, degrade
    undergo decay or decomposition
  10. verb
    treat with excessive indulgence
    synonyms: baby, cocker, coddle, cosset, featherbed, indulge, mollycoddle, pamper
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    type of:
    do by, handle, treat
    interact in a certain way
  11. verb
    have a strong desire or urge to do something
    “He is spoiling for a fight”
    synonyms: itch
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    type of:
    desire, want
    feel or have a desire for; want strongly
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