Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “spoil”

See all translations

spoil

verb uk   /spɔɪl/ (spoiled or spoilt, spoiled or spoilt) us  

spoil verb (DESTROY)

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. [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. [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.
More examples

spoil verb (TREAT WELL)

[T] to treat someone very or too well, especially by being extremely generous: When I'm feeling miserable I go shopping and spoil myself - a couple of new dresses always make me feel better.

spoil verb (CHILD)

C1 [T] disapproving to allow a child to do or have everything that it wants to, usually so that it expects to get everything it wants and does not show respect to other people: Mr Harvey, unable for once to do exactly as he wanted, sulked just like a spoiled child.

spoil

noun uk   /spɔɪl/ us  

spoil noun (EARTH)

[U] earth, stones, etc. dug out from a hole in the ground: a spoil heap

spoil noun (PROFITS)

spoils [plural] formal goods, advantages, profits, etc. that you get by your actions or because of your position or situation: The spoils of victory/war included mounds of treasure and armour.
(Definition of spoil from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of spoil?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “spoil” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

white Christmas

a Christmas when it snows

Word of the Day

Cleavage proves divisive in Cambridge’s words of 2014

by Alastair Horne,
December 19, 2014
​​​​ Other dictionaries may choose faddish novelties as their words of the year, but here at Cambridge, we like to do something different. We look for the words that have seen sudden surges in searches over the course of the year – words that have been baffling users of English and driven them

Read More 

cinderella surgery noun

December 15, 2014
cosmetic surgery to the feet We have all heard of people having nose jobs, boob jobs and liposuction – but now a new trend growing in popularity in America: Cinderella surgery.

Read More