What does spoil mean?

Definitions for spoil

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word spoil.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. spoilnoun

    (usually plural) valuables taken by violence (especially in war)

    "to the victor belong the spoils of the enemy"

  2. spoil, spoiling, spoilagenoun

    the act of spoiling something by causing damage to it

    "her spoiling my dress was deliberate"

  3. spoil, spoliation, spoilation, despoilation, despoilment, despoliationverb

    the act of stripping and taking by force

  4. botch, bodge, bumble, fumble, botch up, muff, blow, flub, screw up, ball up, spoil, muck up, bungle, fluff, bollix, bollix up, bollocks, bollocks up, bobble, mishandle, louse up, foul up, mess up, fuck upverb

    make a mess of, destroy or ruin

    "I botched the dinner and we had to eat out"; "the pianist screwed up the difficult passage in the second movement"

  5. spoil, go badverb

    become unfit for consumption or use

    "the meat must be eaten before it spoils"

  6. corrupt, spoilverb

    alter from the original

  7. pamper, featherbed, cosset, cocker, baby, coddle, mollycoddle, spoil, indulgeverb

    treat with excessive indulgence

    "grandparents often pamper the children"; "Let's not mollycoddle our students!"

  8. thwart, queer, spoil, scotch, foil, cross, frustrate, baffle, bilkverb

    hinder or prevent (the efforts, plans, or desires) of

    "What ultimately frustrated every challenger was Ruth's amazing September surge"; "foil your opponent"

  9. itch, spoilverb

    have a strong desire or urge to do something

    "She is itching to start the project"; "He is spoiling for a fight"

  10. rape, spoil, despoil, violate, plunderverb

    destroy and strip of its possession

    "The soldiers raped the beautiful country"

  11. mar, impair, spoil, deflower, vitiateverb

    make imperfect

    "nothing marred her beauty"


  1. spoilnoun

    (Also in plural: spoils) Plunder taken from an enemy or victim.

  2. spoilnoun

    Material (such as rock or earth) removed in the course of an excavation, or in mining or dredging. Tailings.

  3. spoilverb

    To strip (someone who has been killed or defeated) of their arms or armour.

  4. spoilverb

    To strip or deprive (someone) of their possessions; to rob, despoil.

  5. spoilverb

    To plunder, pillage (a city, country etc.).

  6. spoilverb

    To carry off (goods) by force; to steal.

  7. spoilverb

    To ruin; to damage (something) in some way making it unfit for use.

  8. spoilverb

    To ruin the character of, by overindulgence; to coddle or pamper to excess.

  9. spoilverb

    Of food, to become bad, sour or rancid; to decay.

    Make sure you put the milk back in the fridge, otherwise it will spoil.

  10. spoilverb

    To render (a ballot paper) invalid by deliberately defacing it.

  11. spoilverb

    To reveal the ending of (a story etc.); to ruin (a surprise) by exposing it ahead of time.

  12. Etymology: From espoillier, from spoliare, present active infinitive of spolio.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Spoilnoun

    Etymology: spolium, Latin.

    The cry of Talbot serves me for a sword;
    For I have loaden me with many spoils,
    Using no other weapon but his name. William Shakespeare, Hen. VI.

    Where the cleaver chops the heifer’s spoil,
    Thy breathing nostril hold. John Gay, Trivia.

    The man that hath not musick in himself,
    Nor is not mov’d with concord of sweet sounds,
    Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils. William Shakespeare.

    Go and speed!
    Havock, and spoil, and ruin are my gain. John Milton, Parad. Lost.

    Company, villainous company, hath been the spoil of me. William Shakespeare.

    Snakes, the rather for the casting of their spoil, live ’till they be old. Francis Bacon.

  2. To SPOILverb

    Etymology: spolio, Latin; spolier, French.

    Ye took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven an enduring substance. Heb.

    This mount
    With all his verdure spoil’d, and trees adrift. John Milton.

    Yielding themselves upon the Turks faith, for the safeguard of their liberty and goods, they were most injuriously spoiled of all that they had. Richard Knolles, History of the Turks.

    Thou shalt not gain what I deny to yield,
    Nor reap the harvest, though thou spoil’st the field. Matthew Prior.

    My sons their old unhappy sire despise,
    Spoil’d of his kingdom, and depriv’d of eyes. Alexander Pope.

    Beware lest any man spoil you, through philosophy and vain deceit. Col. ii. 8.

    Spiritual pride spoils many graces. Taylor.

  3. To Spoilverb

    England was infested with robbers and outlaws, which, lurking in woods, used often to break forth to rob and spoil. Edmund Spenser, on Ireland.

    They which hate us spoil for themselves. Ps. xliv. 14.

    He that gathered a hundred bushels of acorns, or apples, had thereby a property in them: he was only to look that he used them before they spoiled, else he robbed others. John Locke.


  1. spoil

    To impair or diminish the quality or value of something, often to the point where it is no longer usable or enjoyable. This can refer to food becoming unfit for consumption, material goods getting damaged, or even abstract concepts like a surprise being ruined.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Spoilverb

    to plunder; to strip by violence; to pillage; to rob; -- with of before the name of the thing taken; as, to spoil one of his goods or possession

  2. Spoilverb

    to seize by violence;; to take by force; to plunder

  3. Spoilverb

    to cause to decay and perish; to corrput; to vitiate; to mar

  4. Spoilverb

    to render useless by injury; to injure fatally; to ruin; to destroy; as, to spoil paper; to have the crops spoiled by insects; to spoil the eyes by reading

  5. Spoilverb

    to practice plunder or robbery

  6. Spoilverb

    to lose the valuable qualities; to be corrupted; to decay; as, fruit will soon spoil in warm weather

  7. Spoilnoun

    that which is taken from another by violence; especially, the plunder taken from an enemy; pillage; booty

  8. Spoilnoun

    public offices and their emoluments regarded as the peculiar property of a successful party or faction, to be bestowed for its own advantage; -- commonly in the plural; as to the victor belong the spoils

  9. Spoilnoun

    that which is gained by strength or effort

  10. Spoilnoun

    the act or practice of plundering; robbery; aste

  11. Spoilnoun

    corruption; cause of corruption

  12. Spoilnoun

    the slough, or cast skin, of a serpent or other animal

  13. Etymology: [F. spolier, OF. espoillier, fr. L. spoliare, fr. spolium spoil. Cf. Despoil, Spoliation.]


  1. Spoil

    In Archaeology, spoil is the term used for the soil, dirt and rubble that results from an excavation, and discarded off site on spoil heaps. These heaps are commonly accessed by barrow runs.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Spoil

    spoil, v.t. to take by force: to plunder.—v.i. to practise robbery.—n. prey, plunder: pillage: robbery.—n. Spoil′er, one who spoils, a plunderer.—n.pl. Spō′lia opī′ma, the most valued spoils—taken by a Roman commander from the enemy's commander in single combat; hence supreme rewards or honours generally. [O. Fr. espoille—L. spolium, spoil.]

  2. Spoil

    spoil, v.t. to corrupt: to mar: to make useless.—v.i. to decay: to become useless.—ns. Spoil′er, a corrupter; Spoil′-five, a round game of cards played with the whole pack, each one of the three to ten players receiving five cards.—adj. Spoil′ful (Spens.), wasteful, rapacious.—n. Spoils′man, one who looks for profit out of politics. [Same as above word.]

British National Corpus

  1. Verbs Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'spoil' in Verbs Frequency: #869

How to pronounce spoil?

How to say spoil in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of spoil in Chaldean Numerology is: 4

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of spoil in Pythagorean Numerology is: 8

Examples of spoil in a Sentence

  1. Jeffery Lewis:

    The telltale sign is the pile of spoil in front of the tunnel. That's rock from inside the mountain as they dig the new tunnel.

  2. The Security Council diplomat:

    Russia’s decision to join the effort or spoil forward motion will reveal much about Moscow’s longer term view, haley’s strong statement over the weekend brought needed urgency to her repeated calls for action. She knows that there is value in UN collaboration instead of each country gambling on its own hunches against North Korea’s bids and flinches.

  3. Jimbo Fisher:

    Condescending. We dont want to spoil anything, we want to take care of our own, and they are great teams. But we expect to play with them and compete with them and win those games. Thats why were here. We are not looking to spoil anything.

  4. Epicurus:

    Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not but remember that what you now have was once among the things only hoped for.

  5. W. R. Inge:

    Consciousness is a phase of mental life which arises in connection with the formation of new habits. When habit is formed, consciousness only interferes to spoil our performance.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for spoil

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

  • غنيمةArabic
  • espoliarCatalan, Valencian
  • lup, kořist, zkazit, rozmazlitCzech
  • Beute, ruinieren, verderben, verwöhnenGerman
  • αλλοιώνω, καλομαθαίνω, χαλάω, κόβω, μυρίζω, προδίδω, λάφυρο, λεία, μπάζα, καταστρέφω, αμαυρώνω, κακομαθαίνω, αλλοιώνομαι, ξινίζω, μαρτυράωGreek
  • botín, agriar, despojar, dañar, echar a perder, estropear, chiquear, descomponerse, echarse a perder, espoliar, arruinar, malcriar, consentirSpanish
  • از بین بردنPersian
  • ryöstösaalis, sotasaalis, jätemaa, louhe, hemmotella, hapantua, mädäntyä, saalis, jätemassa, pilata, ruoppausmassa, lelliä, pilaantua, mädätäFinnish
  • butin, gâter, dépouille, gâcher, tournerFrench
  • millIrish
  • התקלקל, שללHebrew
  • gateHaitian Creole
  • megsavanyodik, elkényeztet, megromlik, zsákmány, rongál, tönkreteszHungarian
  • domajarIdo
  • rovinare, bottino, viziareItalian
  • 略奪品, 利権, 傷める, こわす, 甘やかす, 廃棄物, 傷つける, だめ, 台無し, 腐るJapanese
  • kōpekaMāori
  • verbrodden, verwennen, bederven, buit, verprutsenDutch
  • pilhagem, saque, arruinar, butim, estragar, mimarPortuguese
  • răsfăța, pradă, strica, ruinaRomanian
  • испортить, повреждать, баловать, избаловать, испортиться, трофей, портить, повредить, прокиснуть, скиснутьRussian
  • byte, fördärvaSwedish
  • பாழ்Tamil
  • పాడుTelugu
  • bozulmak, çürümek, yağma, mahvetmek, üzerine titremekTurkish
  • псуватиUkrainian

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"spoil." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 24 Jul 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/spoil>.

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