AskDefine | Define ruin

Dictionary Definition



1 an irrecoverable state of devastation and destruction; "you have brought ruin on this entire family" [syn: ruination]
2 a ruined building; "they explored several Roman ruins"
3 the process of becoming dilapidated [syn: dilapidation]
4 an event that results in destruction [syn: ruination]
5 failure that results in a loss of position or reputation [syn: downfall, ruination]
6 destruction achieved by wrecking something [syn: laying waste, ruining, ruination, wrecking]


1 destroy completely; damage irreparably; "You have ruined my car by pouring sugar in the tank!"; "The tears ruined her make-up" [syn: destroy]
2 destroy or cause to fail; "This behavior will ruin your chances of winning the election"
3 reduce to bankruptcy; "My daughter's fancy wedding is going to break me!"; "The slump in the financial markets smashed him" [syn: bankrupt, break, smash]
4 reduce to ruins; "The country lay ruined after the war"
5 deprive of virginity; "This dirty old man deflowered several young girls in the village" [syn: deflower]
6 fall into ruin

User Contributed Dictionary

see Ruin




  1. construction withered by time.
  2. The state of being a ruin, destroyed or decayed.
    The monastery has fallen into ruin.
  3. Something which leads to serious troubles.
    Gambling has been the ruin to many.


construction withered by time
  • Arabic:
  • Chinese: 毀滅, 毁灭 (huǐmiè)
  • Czech: zřícenina
  • Danish: ruin
  • Dutch: ruïne
  • Estonian: vare
  • Finnish: raunio
  • French: ruine
  • German: Ruine
  • Hebrew:
  • Italian: diruto, rovina
  • Japanese: 破壊 (はかい, hakai)
  • Korean: 붕괴 (bunggeo)
  • Kurdish:
    Sorani: شوێنه‌وار
  • Portuguese: ruína
  • Russian: гибель (gíbel’)
  • Spanish: ruina
  • Swedish: ruin
the state of being a ruin, destroyed or decayed
  • French: ruine
  • German: Ruin
  • Hungarian: rom, romok
  • Old English: hryre
  • Portuguese: ruína
  • Spanish: ruina
  • Swedish: ruin
something which leads to serious troubles
  • Finnish: turmio
  • French: ruine
  • German: Ruin
  • Old English: hryre
  • Portuguese: ruína
  • Spanish: ruina

Translations to be checked


  1. to cause the ruin of
    • 1883: Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island
      In one way, indeed, he bade fair to ruin us; for he kept on staying week after week, and at last month after month, so that all the money had been long exhausted...






  1. gelding

See also

Extensive Definition

This article is about ruins in architecture; for other meanings, see Ruins (disambiguation).
Ruins is a term used to describe the remains of man-made architecture: structures that were once complete but which have fallen into a state of partial or complete disrepair, due to lack of maintenance or deliberate acts of destruction. Natural disaster, war and depopulation are the commonest root causes, with many structures becoming progressively derelict over time due to long-term weathering. There are famous ruins all over the world, from ancient sites in China, the Indus valley and Judea to Zimbabwe in Africa, ancient Greek, Egyptian and Roman sites in the Mediterranean basin, and Incan and Mayan sites in the Americas. Ruins are of great importance to historians, archaeologists and anthropologists, whether they were once individual fortifications, places of worship, houses and utility buildings, or entire villages, towns and cities. Many ruins have become UNESCO World Heritage Sites in recent years, to identify and preserve them as areas of outstanding value to humanity.

Cities in ruins

Ancient cities were often highly militarized and fortified defensive settlements. In times of war they were the central focus of armed conflict and would be sacked and ruined in defeat. Although less central to modern conflict, vast areas of 20th century cities such as Warsaw, Dresden, Coventry, London and Berlin were left in ruins following World War II, and a number of major cities around the world – such as Beirut, Kabul, Sarajevo, Grozny and Baghdad – have been partially or completely ruined in recent years as a result of more localised warfare.
Cities have been also been ruined, and some occasionally lost entirely, to natural disasters. The ancient city of Pompeii was completely lost during a volcanic eruption in the 1st century CE, its uncovered ruins now preserved as a World Heritage Site. The city of Lisbon was totally destroyed in 1755 by a massive earthquake and tsunami, and the 1906 San Francisco earthquake left the city in almost complete ruin.

Deliberate destruction

Apart from acts of war, some important historic buildings have fallen victim to deliberate acts of destruction as a consequence of social, political and economic factors. The spoliation of public monuments in Rome was under way the the fourth century, when it was covered in protective legislation in the Theodosian Code and in new legislation of Majorian. and the dismantling increased once popes were free of imperial restrictions. Marble was still being burned for agricultural lime in the Roman Camapgna into the nineteenth century. In Europe, many religious buildings suffered as a result of the politics of the day. In the 16th century, the English monarch Henry VIII set about confiscating the property of monastic institutions in a campaign which became known as the Dissolution of the Monasteries. Many abbeys and monsateries fell into ruin when their assets, including lead roofs, were stripped.
Following World War II, a number of European historic buildings fell into ruin as a result of taxation policies, which required all structures with roofs to pay substantial property tax. The owners of these buildings, like Fetteresso Castle (now restored) and Slains Castle in Scotland, deliberately destroyed their roofs in protest at, and defiance of, the new taxes. Other decrees of government have had a more direct result, such as the case of Beverston Castle, in which the English parliament ordered significant destruction of the castle to prevent it being used by opposition Royalists.

Relics of steel and wooden towers

As a rule, towers built of steel are dismantled, when not used any more, because their construction can be either rebuilt on a new site or if state of construction does not allow a direct reuse, the metal can be recycled economically. However sometimes tower basements remain, because their removal can sometimes be expensive. One example of such a basement is the basement of the former radio mast of Deutschlandsender Herzberg/Elster.
The basements of large wooden towers such as Transmitter Ismaning may also be left behind, because removing them would be difficult.

Aesthetics of ruins

In the Middle Ages Roman ruins were inconvenient impediments to modern life, quarries for pre-shaped blocks for building projects, or of marble to be burnt for agricultural lime, and subjects for satisfying commentaries on the triumph of Christianity and the general sense of the world's decay, in what was assumed to be its last age, before the Second Coming. With the Renaissance, ruins took on new roles among a cultural elite, as examples for a consciously revived and purified architecture all' antica, and for a new esthetic appreciation of their innate beauty as objects of venerable decay. The chance discovery of Nero's Domus Aurea at the turn of the sixteenth century, and the early excavations at Herculaneum and Pompeii had marked effects on current architectural styles, in Raphael's Rooms at the Vatican and in neoclassical interiors, respectively. The new sense of historicism that accompanied neoclassicism led some artists and designers to conceive of the modern classicising monuments of their own day as they would one day appear as ruins.
Ruins remain a popular subject for painting and creative photography and are often romanticized in film and literature, providing scenic backdrops or used as metaphors for other forms of decline or decay. For example, the ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle in England inspired Turner to create several paintings; in 1989 the ruined Dunnottar Castle in Scotland was used for filming of Hamlet starring Mel Gibson and Glenn Close. Ruins are also found in many places in the Massive Multiplayer Online game Runescape. The Civilization series of turn-based strategy computer games features ruins as special tiles which may provide the player with a bonus when explored.
ruin in Bulgarian: Руина
ruin in Czech: Zřícenina
ruin in Danish: Ruin
ruin in German: Ruine
ruin in Esperanto: Ruino
ruin in French: Ruine
ruin in Latvian: Drupas
ruin in Dutch: Ruïne
ruin in Japanese: 廃墟
ruin in Norwegian: Ruiner
ruin in Low German: Ruin
ruin in Polish: Ruiny
ruin in Portuguese: Ruína
ruin in Romanian: Ruină
ruin in Quechua: Raqay
ruin in Russian: Руины
ruin in Slovak: Ruina
ruin in Finnish: Raunio
ruin in Swedish: Ruin

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Waterloo, abuse, afterglow, afterimage, ancient manuscript, annihilate, antique, antiquity, archaism, artifact, assault, atrophy, attack, baffle, balance, balk, bane, bankrupt, bankruptcy, barbarize, batter, beat, beat all hollow, beat hollow, beating, beggar, beldam, bereavement, best, betray, blast, blight, bloodbath, blue ruin, bollix up, botch, brave, break, break up, breakdown, breakup, bring to ruin, brutalize, burn, bust, butcher, butt, butt end, candle ends, carcass, carnage, carry on, cave painting, chaff, challenge, checkmate, circumvent, clean out, collapse, condemn, confound, confront, confusion, conquering, conquest, consume, consumption, contravene, corrupt, corrupting, corruption, cost, counter, counteract, countermand, counterwork, crash, crone, cross, crumbling, crush, curse, damage, damn, damnation, dash, dead loss, deal destruction, deathblow, debacle, debase, debasement, debasing, debauch, debit, debris, decadence, decay, deceive, decimate, decimation, declension, decline, deface, defeat, defile, defilement, defiling, defloration, deflower, deflowering, defy, degeneracy, degenerate, degeneration, degradation, degrading, demolish, denial, denudation, deplete, depredate, depredation, deprivation, desecrate, desolate, desolation, despoil, despoilment, despoliation, destroy, destroyer, destruction, detriment, detritus, devastate, devastation, devolution, devour, dilapidate, discomfit, disconcert, discountenance, disfigure, dish, dishonor, dishonoring, disintegration, disorganization, dispossession, disrepair, disrupt, disruption, dissolution, dissolve, divestment, do in, dodo, dotard, downfall, downgrade, drain, draw, drub, drubbing, elude, end, engorge, eolith, expense, fag end, failure, fall, filings, fix, flatten, flummox, foil, fold up, force, forfeit, forfeiture, fossil, fragments, frustrate, fuddy-duddy, gin, go on, gobble, gobble up, gut, gut with fire, hag, hammer, harm, havoc, hecatomb, hide, hiding, holdover, holocaust, hors de combat, hulk, hurt, husks, impair, impoverish, incinerate, injury, knock the chocks, lambaste, lambasting, lather, lathering, lay in ruins, lay waste, lead astray, leavings, leftovers, lick, licking, liquidation, loot, loser, losing, losing streak, loss, louse up, maim, mangle, mar, mastery, maul, mere wreck, mess up, mezzolith, microlith, mischief, mislead, mug, mutilate, nemesis, neolith, nervous wreck, nonplus, nullify, odds and ends, offscourings, old fogy, old geezer, orts, outclass, outdo, outfight, outgeneral, outmaneuver, outpoint, outrage, outrun, outsail, outshine, overcoming, overthrow, overturn, paleolith, parings, pauper, pauperize, perdition, perplex, petrification, petrified forest, petrified wood, petroglyph, pillage, plateaulith, play havoc with, play hob with, poison, privation, pulverize, put, quietus, rage, rags, ramp, rampage, rant, rape, rattletrap, ravage, rave, ravish, raze, refuse, relic, relics, reliquiae, remainder, remains, remnant, residue, residuum, rest, riot, roach, roar, robbery, rubbish, rubble, ruinate, ruination, ruins, rump, sabotage, sack, sacrifice, savage, sawdust, scotch, scourings, scraps, screw up, scuttle, seduce, seducing, seduction, settle, shadow, shambles, shatter, shavings, shipwreck, sink, skeleton, skin, skin alive, slaughter, smash, soil, sow chaos, spike, spoil, spoliate, spoliation, stonewall, storm, straw, stripping, stubble, stump, subdual, subduing, subjugation, sully, survival, swallow up, sweepings, taking away, tear, tear around, terrorize, thrash, thrashing, throw into disorder, thwart, total loss, trace, trim, trimming, triumph over, trounce, trouncing, uglify, unbuild, undo, undoing, unleash destruction, unleash the hurricane, unmake, upheave, upset, vandalism, vandalize, vanquishment, vaporize, vestige, violate, vitiate, vitiating, vitiation, waste, whip, whipping, wipe out, wiping out, witch, worst, wrack, wrack and ruin, wreak havoc, wreck, wreckage
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