vandalize

If you vandalize something, you damage or destroy it. Graffiti can be art, but if you spray paint your initials on a marble statue, you vandalize it.

Vandalize has an ancient root: the Vandals were a Germanic group of people who famously sacked Rome in 455. Thanks to the terrible destruction they left in their wake, the word took on a meaning of "willful destroyer of what is beautiful." To vandalize is to deliberately damage something that doesn't belong to you. For some, it's a tradition to vandalize whole neighborhoods on the night before Halloween, strewing toilet paper in trees, smashing jack-o'-lanterns, and spray painting property. We recommend just trick-or-treating instead.

Definitions of vandalize
  1. verb
    destroy wantonly, as through acts of vandalism
    vandalize the park”
    synonyms: vandalise
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    types:
    key
    vandalize a car by scratching the sides with a key
    type of:
    destroy, ruin
    destroy completely; damage irreparably
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