ru·in (rn) KEY
ru·ined, ru·in·ing, ru·ins
Middle English ruine, from Old French, from Latin runa, from ruere, to rush, collapse
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).