v. spoiledor spoilt (spoilt), spoil·ing, spoils
a. To impair or destroy the quality or value of; ruin: spoiled the dish by adding too much salt.
b. To impair or destroy the enjoyment or experience of: spoiled the movie by talking throughout it.
c. To reveal details about (a movie or a book, for example) before someone has a chance to discover these details on their own: The article spoiled the next episode of my favorite TV show.
2. To harm the character of (a child) by overindulgence or leniency. See Synonyms at pamper.
a. To plunder; despoil.
b. To take by force.
To become unfit for use or consumption, as from decay. Used especially of perishables, such as food. See Synonyms at decay.
a. Goods or property seized from a victim after a conflict, especially after a military victory.
b. Incidental benefits reaped by a winner, especially political patronage enjoyed by a successful party or candidate.
2. An object of plunder; prey.
3. Refuse material removed from an excavation.
4. Archaic The act of plundering; spoliation.
To be eager for: spoiling for a fight.
[Middle English spoilen, to plunder, from Old French espoillier, from Latin spoliāre, from spolium, booty.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. 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.