c. 1300, destruccioun "ruin;" early on 14c., "act that destroying, devastation; state of gift destroyed," from Old French devastation (12c.) and also directly native Latin destructionem (nominative destructio) "a pulling down, destruction," noun of action from past-participle stem of destruere "tear down, demolish," literally "un-build," indigenous de "un-, down" (see de-) + struere "to pile, build" (from PIE *streu-, extended form of root *stere- "to spread"). An interpretation "cause of destruction" is from late 14c.

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active word-forming element in English and also in countless verbs inherited from French and Latin, indigenous Latin de "down, down from, from, off; concerning" (see de), also used together a prefix in Latin, usually an interpretation "down, off, away, native among, down from," but also "down to the bottom, totally" hence "completely" (intensive or completive), i beg your pardon is its feeling in many English words.

As a Latin prefix it likewise had the function of undoing or reversing a verb's action, and also hence it happened used as a pure privative — "not, execute the the contrary of, undo" — i m sorry is the primary function as a living prefix in English, together in defrost (1895), defuse (1943), de-escalate (1964), etc. In some cases, a reduced kind of dis-.

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*sterə-, also *ster-, Proto-Indo-European root an interpretation "to spread." It forms all or part of: consternate; consternation; construct; construction; destroy; destruction; industry; instruct; instruction; instrument; obstruct; obstruction; perestroika; prostrate; sternum; sternocleidomastoid; strain (n.2) "race, stock, line;" stratagem; strategy; strath; strato-; stratocracy; stratography; stratosphere; stratum; stratus; straw; stray; street; strew; stroma; structure; substrate; substratum; substructure. That is the hypothetical source of/evidence because that its presence is listed by: Sanskrit strnoti "strews, litter down;" Avestan star- "to spread out, stretch out;" Greek stronymi "strew," stroma "bedding, mattress," sternon "breast, breastbone;" Latin sternere "to stretch, extend;" Old Church Slavonic stira, streti "spread," strana "area, region, country;" Russian stroji "order;" Gothic straujan, Old High German strouwen, Old English streowian "to sprinkle, strew;" Old English streon "strain," streaw "straw, that which is scattered;" Old High German stirna "forehead," strala "arrow, lightning bolt;" Old ireland fo-sernaim "spread out," srath "a broad river valley;" Welsh srat "plain."

"to destroy," 1958, probably a back-formation from devastation in the slang of U.S. Aerospace and defense employees to refer to deliberate destruction of a missile in flight by a friendly agent; popularized 1966 in kind self-destruct in the voice-over in ~ the start of TV spy drama "Mission Impossible." OED documents an isolated use of destructed indigenous 17c., in this case probably from Latin destructus, previous participle the destruere.