Meaning of “destroy” in the English Dictionary

british dictionary

"destroy" in British English

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destroyverb [ T ]

uk /dɪˈstrɔɪ/ us /dɪˈstrɔɪ/

B1 to damage something so badly that it cannot be used:

Most of the old part of the city was destroyed by bombs during the war.
The accident seemed to have completely/totally destroyed his confidence.

to kill an animal because it is ill, in pain, or dangerous

More examples

  • These guns will destroy or disable any incoming missile.
  • Many important historical documents were destroyed in the fire.
  • In 1906 an earthquake destroyed much of San Francisco.
  • A bomb fell on the church and destroyed it.
  • Deforestation is destroying large areas of tropical rain forest.

(Definition of “destroy” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"destroy" in American English

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destroyverb [ T ]

us /dɪˈstrɔɪ/

to damage something, esp. in a violent way, so that it can no longer be used or no longer exists:

You can use a shredder to destroy old bank statements.
Losing his job seemed to completely destroy his confidence.

(Definition of “destroy” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)