ruin

ruin n Ruin, havoc, devastation, destruction are comparable when they mean the bringing about of disaster or what is left by a disaster. They are general terms which do not definitely indicate the cause or the effect yet suggest the kind of force operating to produce the kind of disaster involved.
Ruin implies generally a falling or tumbling down and is applicable to anything that through decay, corruption, neglect, or loss is unable to maintain its wholeness or soundness and so gives way or falls apart; this idea underlies all of the many uses of the word
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the old castle has fallen to ruin

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this carelessness . . . was to be his ruin—M. A. Hamilton

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cases of hopeless ruin ... in which the body has first been ruined through neglect or vice— Eliot

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the possessive instinct. . . when pushed too far becomes the cause of the ruin of . . . society— Ellis

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Havoc suggests an agent that pillages, despoils, or ravages and brings confusion and disorder with it
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appalled by the havoc and loss of life caused by the earthquake— Crowley

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he was now the blockaded ... for Agrippa had worked havoc with his sea communications— Buchan

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hookworms live a long, long time in the small intestine, creating havoc all the while— Heiser

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Devastation basically implies a laying waste, usually of a widespread territory (as by war or a natural catastrophe)
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the terrible devastation wrought by the great tidal wave which followed the earthquake at Lima— T. H. Huxley

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but it also is applicable to something (as disease) that overwhelms the individual or his property or resources like a natural catastrophe
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those [letters] . . . make clear the devastation in her health that was soon to be revealed— Ellis

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Destruction implies an unbuilding or pulling down or apart, but, since it is used alike of material and of immaterial things, it may suggest not only demolition but a killing, an undoing, or an annihilation; also, although it often connotes a conscious attempt to pull down, it as often suggests rather an inevitableness or an irony in the effect produced
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an unjust society wreaks cruel if subtle imprisonments and destructions of personal energy— Mailer

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the destruction of a man's edifice [lifework] by his own instruments of construction— Belloc

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Analogous words: disintegration, crumbling (see corresponding verbs at DECAY)
ruin vb Ruin, wreck, dilapidate can all mean to subject a person or more often a thing to forces that are destructive of soundness, worth, or usefulness.
Ruin usually suggests a bringing to an end the structural or mental integrity, the value, beauty, or the well-being of something or of someone through such destructive agencies as weather, age, or neglect, through partial destruction by fire, flood, or collision, or through loss of something vital to happiness or success (as one's fortune, one's good name, or one's chastity)
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the storm has ruined the garden

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the firm's reputation was ruined by rumors

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there was in all of them [persons] something ruined, lost or broken—some precious and irretrievable quality which had gone out of them and which they never could get back again— Wolfe

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Wreck implies a ruining by or as if by crashing or being shattered. Basically it is used in reference to a ship, a train, a vehicle, or an airplane
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the ship was wrecked on the rocky coast

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In its extended sense wreck is often used in place of ruin when there is an intent to imply injury, often to something intangible such as one's career, one's credit, or one's prospects, past all hope of repair or of reconstruction
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his health was wrecked by dissipation

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their plans were wrecked by the unexpected change in weather

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When the pulling down of a building is implied, wreck is often preferred to demolish or destroy because it does not necessarily carry the suggestion implicit in those words of the uselessness of that which is left.
Dilapidate historically implies ruin especially of a building, or of developed property, or of one's fortune or financial resources through neglect or through wastefulness; the term in such use carries, as the other terms do not, a strong implication of culpability
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men bent . . . upon intriguing for places at court, for salaries, and for fragment after fragment of the Royal fortune which they were dilapidatingBelloc

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the church... was ... shamefully suffered to dilapidate by deliberate robbery and frigid indifference— Johnson

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In more general use dilapidate implies a shabby, run-down, and often tumbledown condition and is used chiefly in the past-participial form as an adjective
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negotiating the dilapidated and purblind vehicle over the curving roads— Cheever

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an aged man, traveling alone, and wearing the dilapidated look of a retired missionary— Glasgow

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Analogous words: *destroy, demolish, raze: *deface, disfigure: *maim, mutilate, mangle

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Ruin — Ru in, n. [OE. ruine, F. ruine, fr. L. ruina, fr. ruere, rutum, to fall with violence, to rush or tumble down.] 1. The act of falling or tumbling down; fall. [Obs.] His ruin startled the other steeds. Chapman. [1913 Webster] 2. Such a change of… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • ruin — [ro͞o′ən] n. [ME ruine < OFr < L ruina < ruere, to fall, hurl to the ground < IE * ereu < base * er , to set in motion, erect > RUN, RISE] 1. Archaic a falling down, as of a building, wall, etc. 2. [pl.] the remains of a fallen… …   English World dictionary

  • Ruin — Ru in, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Ruined};p. pr. & vb. n. {Ruining}.] [Cf. F. ruiner, LL. ruinare. See {Ruin}, n.] To bring to ruin; to cause to fall to pieces and decay; to make to perish; to bring to destruction; to bring to poverty or bankruptcy; to …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Ruin — Ru in, v. i. To fall to ruins; to go to ruin; to become decayed or dilapidated; to perish. [R.] [1913 Webster] Though he his house of polished marble build, Yet shall it ruin like the moth s frail cell. Sandys. [1913 Webster] If we are idle, and… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Ruin — Sm Zustand der Vernichtung erw. fremd. Erkennbar fremd (17. Jh.) Entlehnung. Entlehnt aus frz. ruine, dieses aus l. ruīna Zusammensturz, Trümmer ; Ruine. Verb: ruinieren; Adjektiv: ruinös.    Ebenso nndl. ruïne, ne. ruin, nschw. ruin, nnorw. ruin …   Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen sprache

  • ruin — adjetivo 1. (antepuesto / pospuesto) Uso/registro: elevado. Que es malvado y despreciable: Alicia es una persona ruin. Alberto me ha escrito una carta ruin. Tus ruines palabras se me quedaron grabadas en la memoria. 2. Uso/registro: elevado. Que… …   Diccionario Salamanca de la Lengua Española

  • ruin — RUÍN s.m. Plantă erbacee cu tulpina acoperită de peri, cu frunze opuse, lucioase şi cu flori liliachii, roşietice sau albe, dispuse în capitule sferice la vârful lujerilor (Succisa pratensis). – cf. scr. r u j a n . Trimis de LauraGellner,… …   Dicționar Român

  • ruin — [n] situation of devastation atrophy, bane, bankruptcy, bath, breakdown, collapse, confusion, crackup, crash, crumbling, damage, decay, defeat, degeneracy, degeneration, demolition, destitution, destruction, deterioration, dilapidation,… …   New thesaurus

  • Ruin — »Zusammenbruch, Zerrüttung, Untergang«: Das seit dem 17. Jh. bezeugte »Ruin« ist identisch mit dem seit dem 16. Jh. bezeugten Ruine »zerfallenes Bauwerk, Trümmer«, übertragen auch »Wrack, hinfälliger Mensch«. Beide sind aus gleichbed. frz. ruine… …   Das Herkunftswörterbuch

  • Ruin — [Aufbauwortschatz (Rating 1500 3200)] Auch: • Untergang • ruinieren • zugrunde richten Bsp.: • Der Verlust seiner Arbeit bedeutete für ihn den Ruin …   Deutsch Wörterbuch

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