1. One that spoils, especially:
a. A candidate for office whose chances of winning are slight but who may get enough votes to prevent one of the leading candidates from winning.
b. Sports A competitor that has no chance of winning or qualifying (as for a playoff) but defeats and thereby prevents another from doing so.
c. A published piece of information that divulges a surprise, such as a plot twist in a movie.
d. One who seizes spoils or booty: Odysseus, spoiler of cities.
a. A long, narrow hinged plate on the upper surface of an airplane wing that reduces lift and increases drag when raised.
b. An air deflector mounted usually at the rear of an automobile to reduce lift at high speeds.
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.