A city devastated by an earthquake.
- When a hurricane destroys a town, this is an example of a time when it devastates the town.
- When you tell a person that his spouse died, this is an example of a time when you devastate him.
- to lay waste; make desolate; ravage; destroy
- to make helpless; overwhelm: the teacher's criticism devastated him
Origin of devastate; from Classical Latin devastatus, past participle of devastare, to lay waste ; from de-, intensive + vastare, to make empty ; from vastus, empty: see vast
transitive verbdev·as·tat·ed, dev·as·tat·ing, dev·as·tates
- To lay waste; destroy.
- To overwhelm; confound; stun: was devastated by the rude remark.
Origin of devastateLatin d&emacron;vastare, d&emacron;vastat- : d&emacron;-, de- + vastare, to lay waste (from vastus, empty, desolate; see eu&schwa;- in Indo-European roots).
(third-person singular simple present devastates, present participle devastating, simple past and past participle devastated)
- To ruin many or all things over a large area, such as most or all buildings of a city, or cities of a region, or trees of a forest.
- To destroy a whole collection of related ideas, beliefs, and strongly held opinions.
- To break beyond recovery or repair so that the only options are abandonment or the clearing away of useless remains (if any) and starting over.
From Latin dēvastātus, perfect passive participle of dēvastō, from dē- (augmentative prefix) + vastō (“I destroy, I lay waste to”).