1. often ruins
a. The state of being physically destroyed, collapsed, or decayed: The castle fell into ruin.
b. The state of being extensively harmed or damaged: Our vacation plans are in ruins.
c. Poverty of bankruptcy: Their decision brought the bank to ruin.
a. often ruins A destroyed, collapsed, or decayed building or other physical entity: the ruins of the old mill.
b. One that has been extensively damaged or harmed: He is a ruin of his former self.
3. A cause of destruction or irreparable harm or loss: Gambling will be his ruin.
tr.v. ru·ined, ru·in·ing, ru·ins
1. To cause (a building, for example) to be in a destroyed, collapsed, or decayed state.
a. To harm or damage the quality or value of (something) irreparably: A bad diet ruined his health.
b. To harm or damage the enjoyment or experience of (something) greatly: ruined the movie by talking throughout it; ruined the book by giving away the ending.
3. To reduce to poverty or bankruptcy: Bad loans ruined the banker.
[Middle English ruine, from Old French, from Latin ruīna, from ruere, to rush, collapse.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.