- To devastate is defined as to destroy or ruin something or to cause someone to be overwhelmed with grief.
- 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.
A city devastated by an earthquake.Licensed from iStockPhoto
- to lay waste; make desolate; ravage; destroy
- to make helpless; overwhelm: the teacher's criticism devastated him
Origin: ; from Classical Latin devastatus, past participle of devastare, to lay waste ; from de-, intensive plush vastare, to make empty ; from vastus, empty: see vast
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transitive verb dev·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: Latin dēvāstāre, dēvāstāt- : dē-, de- + vāstāre, to lay waste (from vāstus, empty, desolate; see euə- in Indo-European roots).
- devˈas·tatˌing·ly adverb
- devˌas·taˈtion noun
- devˈas·taˌtor noun