American English

Definition of ruin noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1[uncountable] the state or process of being destroyed or severely damaged A large number of churches fell into ruin after the revolution. The house had been left to go to ruin. The terrorist attack had left the city in a state of ruin
  2. 2[uncountable] the fact of having no money, of having lost your job, position, etc. The divorce ultimately led to his ruin. The bank stepped in to save the company from financial ruin. The war brought the country to the brink of ruin.
  3. 3[singular] something that causes a person, company, etc. to lose all their money, job, position, etc. synonym downfall Gambling was his ruin.
  4. 4[countable] (also ruins [plural]) the parts of a building that remain after it has been destroyed or severely damaged The old mill is now little more than a ruin. We visited the ruins of a Norman castle. Two bodies were found among the charred ruins of the house. (figurative) He was determined to build a new life out of the ruins of his career.
  5. Idioms
    go to rack and ruin
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    to get into a bad condition They let the house go to rack and ruin.
    destroyed or severely damaged Years of fighting have left the area in ruins. The scandal left his reputation in ruins. Their plans for a comeback now lie in ruins.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: ruin