spoil [spoil spoils spoilt spoiled spoiling] verb, noun BrE [spɔɪl]
NAmE [spɔɪl]
verb (spoiled, spoiled BrE [spɔɪld]
; NAmE [spɔɪld]
)(BrE also spoilt, spoilt BrE [spɔɪlt]
; NAmE [spɔɪlt]
1. transitive ~ sth to change sth good into sth bad, unpleasant, useless, etc.
Syn: ruin
Our camping trip was spoilt by bad weather.
Don't let him spoil your evening.
The tall buildings have spoiled the view.
Don't eat too many nuts— you'll spoil your appetite (= will no longer be hungry at the proper time to eat).
(BrE) spoiled ballot papers (= not valid because not correctly marked)
I won't tell you what happens in the last chapter— I don't want to spoil it for you.
2. transitive ~ sb to give a child everything that they ask for and not enough discipline in a way that has a bad effect on their character and behaviour
Syn: overindulge
She spoils those kids of hers.
3. transitive ~ sb/yourself to make sb/yourself happy by doing sth special
Why not spoil yourself with a weekend in a top hotel?
He really spoiled me on my birthday.
4. intransitive (of food) to become bad so that it can no longer be eaten
Syn: go off
more at too many cooks spoil the broth at cook n.
Verb forms:
Word Origin:
Middle English (in the sense ‘to plunder’): shortening of Old French espoille (noun), espoillier (verb), from Latin spoliare, from spolium ‘plunder, skin stripped from an animal’, or a shortening of despoil.
spoil verb T
I don't want to spoil your fun, but it's time to go.
ruin • • wreck • • mar
spoil/ruin/wreck sth for sb
spoil/ruin/wreck things/everything
spoil/ruin/wreck sb's plans/day/evening/life/chances/hope
Spoil or ruin? Ruin is stronger than spoil. If sth is ruined it is completely spoiled. If sth is spoiled it may just be less good than it should be.
Example Bank:
Don't let the bad weather spoil your trip.
He spoils the children with expensive toys.
Her selfish behaviour completely spoiled the evening.
I don't want to spoil things for everyone else.
It would be a pity to spoil the surprise.
My grandparents used to spoil me rotten.
Now, don't be hard on the children and spoil their fun!
The bad weather really spoilt things for us.
Those children are thoroughly spoiled!
Why did they have to act so aggressively and spoil everything?
Don't have anything to eat now— you'll spoil your appetite.
I don't want to spoil your fun, but it's nearly time to go home.
I won't tell you what happens in the last chapter— I don't want to spoil it for you.
The new buildings have completely spoiled the view.
The performance was spoilt by the constant noise from the audience.
Why do you always have to spoil everything?
Idioms: spoil the ship for a ha'p'orth of tar spoiling for a fight
1. the spoils plural (formal or literary) goods taken from a place by thieves or by an army that has won a battle or war
the spoils of war
The robbers divided up the spoils.
2. spoils plural the profits or advantages that sb gets from being successful
the spoils of high office
The two teams shared the spoils with a 1–1 result.
3. uncountable (technical) waste material that is brought up when a hole is dug, etc.
Word Origin:
Middle English (in the sense ‘to plunder’): shortening of Old French espoille (noun), espoillier (verb), from Latin spoliare, from spolium ‘plunder, skin stripped from an animal’, or a shortening of despoil.

WordNet Dictionary:
1. (usually plural) valuables taken by violence (especially in war)
- to the victor belong the spoils of the enemy
2. the act of spoiling something by causing damage to it
- her spoiling my dress was deliberate
Syn: spoiling, spoilage
3. the act of stripping and taking by force
Syn: spoliation, spoilation, despoilation, despoilment, despoliation
1. 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
2. become unfit for consumption or use
- the meat must be eaten before it spoils
Syn: go bad
Syn: corrupt
5. treat with excessive indulgence
- grandparents often pamper the children
- Let's not mollycoddle our students!
6. destroy and strip of its possession
- The soldiers raped the beautiful country
Syn: rape, despoil, violate, plunder
7. hinder or prevent (the efforts, plans, or desires) of
- What ultimately frustrated every challenger was Ruth's amazing September surge
- foil your opponent
8. have a strong desire or urge to do something
- She is itching to start the project
- He is spoiling for a fight
Syn: itch

Webster's 1913 Dictionary:
v. t.1.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 possessions.
[imp. & p. p. Spoiled (spoild) or Spoilt (spoilt); p. pr. & vb. n. Spoiling.]
My sons their old, unhappy sire despise,
Spoiled of his kingdom, and deprived of eyes.
2.To seize by violence; to take by force; to plunder.
No man can enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man.
3.To cause to decay and perish; to corrupt; to vitiate; to mar.
Spiritual pride spoils many graces.
4.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.
v. i.1.To practice plunder or robbery.
Outlaws, which, lurking in woods, used to break forth to rob and spoil.
2.To lose the valuable qualities; to be corrupted; to decay; as, fruit will soon spoil in warm weather.
n.1.That which is taken from another by violence; especially, the plunder taken from an enemy; pillage; booty.
Gentle gales,
Fanning their odoriferous wings, dispense
Native perfumes, and whisper whence they stole
Those balmy spoils.
2.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.
From a principle of gratitude I adhered to the coalition; my vote was counted in the day of battle, but I was overlooked in the division of the spoil.
3.That which is gained by strength or effort.
Each science and each art his spoil.
4.The act or practice of plundering; robbery; waste.
The man that hath no music in himself,
Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds,
Is fit for treason, stratagems, and spoils.
5.Corruption; cause of corruption.
Villainous company hath been the spoil of me.
6.The slough, or cast skin, of a serpent or other animal.
Spoil bank
a bank formed by the earth taken from an excavation, as of a canal.
The spoils system
the theory or practice of regarding public offices and their emoluments as so much plunder to be distributed among their active partisans by those who are chosen to responsible offices of administration.

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