Wordsmith.org: the magic of words


About | Media | Search | Contact  


Today's Word

Yesterday's Word



Email this


Pronunciation Sound Clip RealAudio

This week's theme: Words about war

spoliation (spo-lee-AY-shun) noun

1. The act of pillaging and plundering.
2. Seizure of neutral ships at sea in time of war.
3. The deliberate destruction or alteration of a document.

[From Middle English, from Latin spoliation- (stem of spoliatio), from spoliatus, past participle of spoliare (to spoil).]

It's one of the most misspelled words around (as spoilation), one out of every ten occurrences, according to Google. It's right there with "definitely" which is misspelled (as definately) at about the same frequency.

"For raids to have an effect, as the Allies quickly learned, they had to be directed not against specific industrial installations but against entire urban centers. The Allied attack on Hamburg in late July 1943 was typical of the kind of spoliation that could be achieved. Half the city's domiciles were destroyed, as were 60% of its water system, 75% of its electricity generation and 90% of its gas works. Forty thousand Germans perished."
Gabriel Schoenfeld; The Strategy Behind All That Destruction; The Wall Street Journal (New York); May 8, 2000.

See more usage examples of spoliation in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.


Poetry is truth in its Sunday clothes. -Joseph Roux, priest and writer (1834-1886)

We need your help

Help us continue to spread the magic of words to readers everywhere


Subscriber Services
Awards | Stats | Links | Privacy Policy
Contribute | Advertise

© 1994-2023 Wordsmith