Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English


English definition of “spoil”


verb (DESTROY)    /spɔɪl/ (spoiled or spoilt, spoiled or spoilt)
B1 [T] to destroy or reduce the pleasure , interest , or beauty of something: He tried not to let the bad news spoil his evening . The oil spill has spoiled the whole beautiful coastline . I haven't seen the film , so don't spoil it for me by telling me what happens . You'll spoil your appetite for dinner if you have a cake now.Damaging and spoilingDestroying and demolishing [I or T] When food spoils or is spoiled, it is no longer good enough to eat : The dessert will spoil if you don't keep it in the fridge .Edible and inedibleDecaying and staying fresh [T] UK specialized politics to mark a ballot paper so that it cannot be officially counted as a vote : Since she supported none of the candidates , she spoiled her ballot paper .ElectionsDamaging and spoilingDestroying and demolishing
(Definition of spoil verb (DESTROY) from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
Focus on the pronunciation of spoil

Definitions of “spoil” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

prenuptial agreement

an official document signed by two people before they get married that says what will happen to their possessions and/or children if they divorce (= officially stop being married)

Word of the Day


Read our blog about how the English language behaves.

Learn More

New Words

Find words and meanings that have just started to be used in English, and let us know what you think of them.

Learn More