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ru·in  audio  (rn) KEY 

NOUN:
  1. Total destruction or disintegration, either physical, moral, social, or economic.
  2. A cause of total destruction.
    1. The act of destroying totally.
    2. A destroyed person, object, or building.
  3. The remains of something destroyed, disintegrated, or decayed. Often used in the plural: studied the ruins of ancient Greece.
VERB:
ru·ined, ru·in·ing, ru·ins
VERB:
tr.
  1. To destroy completely; demolish.
  2. To harm irreparably.
  3. To reduce to poverty or bankruptcy.
  4. To deprive of chastity.
VERB:
intr.
To fall into ruin.

ETYMOLOGY:
Middle English ruine, from Old French, from Latin runa, from ruere, to rush, collapse

OTHER FORMS:
ruin·a·ble(Adjective), ruin·er(Noun)

SYNONYMS:
ruin, raze, demolish, destroy, wreck

These verbs mean to injure and deprive somethingor, less often, someoneof usefulness, soundness, or value. Ruin usually implies irretrievable harm but not necessarily total destruction: "You will ruin no more lives as you ruined mine" (Arthur Conan Doyle). Raze, demolish, and destroy can all imply reduction to ruins or even complete obliteration: "raze what was left of the city from the surface of the earth" (John Lothrop Motley). The prosecutor demolished the opposition's argument. "I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness" (Allen Ginsberg). To wreck is to ruin in or as if in a violent collision: "The Boers had just wrecked a British military train" (Arnold Bennett). When wreck is used in referring to the ruination of a person or his or her hopes or reputation, it implies irreparable shattering: "Coleridge, poet and philosopher wrecked in a mist of opium" (Matthew Arnold).


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