Spoil Spoil, n. [Cf. OF. espoille, L. spolium.] 1. That which is taken from another by violence; especially, the plunder taken from an enemy; pillage; booty. [1913 Webster]

Gentle gales, Fanning their odoriferous wings, dispense Native perfumes, and whisper whence they stole Those balmy spoils. --Milton. [1913 Webster]

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. [1913 Webster]

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. --Gibbon. [1913 Webster]

3. That which is gained by strength or effort. [1913 Webster]

Each science and each art his spoil. --Bentley. [1913 Webster]

4. The act or practice of plundering; robbery; waste. [1913 Webster]

The man that hath no music in himself, Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds, Is fit for treason, stratagems, and spoils. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

5. Corruption; cause of corruption. [Archaic] [1913 Webster]

Villainous company hath been the spoil of me. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

6. The slough, or cast skin, of a serpent or other animal. [Obs.] --Bacon. [1913 Webster]

{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. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • Spoil — (spoil), v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Spoiled} (spoild) or {Spoilt} (spoilt); p. pr. & vb. n. {Spoiling}.] [F. spolier, OF. espoillier, fr. L. spoliare, fr. spolium spoil. Cf. {Despoil}, {Spoliation}.] 1. To plunder; to strip by violence; to pillage; to… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • spoil — n Spoil, plunder, booty, prize, loot, swag can mean something of value that is taken from another by force or craft. Spoil applies to the movable property of a defeated enemy, which by the custom of old time warfare belongs to the victor and of… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • spoil — [ spɔıl ] verb ** ▸ 1 make worse ▸ 2 allow child everything ▸ 3 treat someone with care ▸ 4 food: become too old ▸ 5 in election ▸ + PHRASES 1. ) transitive to affect something in a way that makes it worse, less attractive, or less enjoyable:… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • Spoil — (spoil), v. i. 1. To practice plunder or robbery. [1913 Webster] Outlaws, which, lurking in woods, used to break forth to rob and spoil. Spenser. [1913 Webster] 2. To lose the valuable qualities; to be corrupted; to decay; as, fruit will soon… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • spoil — c.1300, from O.Fr. espoillier to strip, plunder, from L. spoliare to strip of clothing, rob, from spolium armor stripped from an enemy, booty; originally skin stripped from a killed animal, from PIE *spol yo , perhaps from root *spel to split, to …   Etymology dictionary

  • spoil — [v1] ruin, hurt blemish, damage, debase, deface, defile, demolish, depredate, desecrate, desolate, despoil, destroy, devastate, disfigure, disgrace, harm, impair, injure, make useless, mar, mess up*, muck up*, pillage, plunder, prejudice, ravage …   New thesaurus

  • spoil — [spoil] vt. spoiled or Brit. spoilt, spoiling [ME spoilen < MFr espoillier < L spoliare, to plunder < spolium, arms taken from a defeated foe, plunder, orig., hide stripped from an animal < IE base * (s)p(h)el , to split, tear off… …   English World dictionary

  • spoil — I (impair) verb addle, blemish, blight, botch, break, bungle, butcher, corrumpere, corrupt, damage, damage irreparably, debase, decay, decompose, deface, defile, deform, demolish, destroy, deteriorate, dilapidate, disable, disfigure, go bad, harm …   Law dictionary

  • spoil — ► VERB (past and past part. spoilt (chiefly Brit. ) or spoiled) 1) diminish or destroy the value or quality of. 2) (of food) become unfit for eating. 3) harm the character of (a child) by being too indulgent. 4) treat with great or excessive… …   English terms dictionary

  • spoil — spoil1 [spɔıl] v past tense and past participle spoiled also spoilt [spɔılt] BrE ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ 1¦(damage)¦ 2¦(treat too kindly)¦ 3¦(treat kindly)¦ 4¦(decay)¦ 5¦(voting)¦ 6 be spoiling for a fight/argument ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ [Date: 1200 1300; …   Dictionary of contemporary English

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