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Definition catastrophic or extremely harmful; or badly damaged or decayed (like ancient ruins)
  • It was a ruinous war.
ruinous = extremely harmful
  • He gave notes, took up ruinous obligations, dealt with usurers and all the race of lenders.
    Guy de Maupassant  --  The Diamond Necklace
  • ruinous = catastrophic or extremely harmful
  • ...children are ruinous;
    Ray Bradbury  --  Fahrenheit 451
  • ruinous = extremely harmful
  • ...this part of the ancient road was much more ruinous than any they had yet seen.  They had to pick their way over great broken stones and between boulders and across rubble:
    C.S. Lewis  --  The Silver Chair
  • ruinous = damaged
  • He was able to buy a great deal of land for very little money, but that little had to be borrowed from banks at a ruinous rate of interest.
    Willa Cather  --  Death Comes for the Archbishop
  • There's a cross wrinkle in her brow, but she somehow sloughs off my likely ruinous charge and asks instead if the turkey sandwich is all right for me.
    Chang-rae Lee  --  A Gesture Life
  • In December, Federalists from the five New England States, led by Timothy Pickering, met at Hartford to denounce the "ruinous war."
    David McCullough  --  John Adams
  • Houses in twos and threes pass by us, solitary farms, ruinous buildings, dye-works, tanneries, and the like, open country, avenues of leafless trees.
    Charles Dickens  --  A Tale of Two Cities
  • We will learn every lesson of accent and idiom, we will dismantle every last pretense and practice you hold, noble as well as ruinous.
    Chang-rae Lee  --  Native Speaker
  • 'No, I mean mine, ma'am,' said Pancks,'for it was my misfortune to lead him into a ruinous investment.'
    Charles Dickens  --  Little Dorrit
  • He wanted the story badly, but it was more than clear to me that intimacy with a guard would be ruinous for me—or for any prisoner.
    Piper Kerman  --  Orange Is the New Black
  • I felt like I was in one of those classic cartoon moments, suspended in midair for an endless second before falling to ruinous injury.
    John Grogan  --  Marley & Me
  • "If you liked," he said, "a lesson from time to time, that wouldn't after all be very ruinous."
    Gustave Flaubert  --  Madame Bovary
  • So Scarlett reluctantly stayed away from Johnnie's mill, fearing that if she came too often he might quit and that would be ruinous.
    Margaret Mitchell  --  Gone with the Wind
  • You remember I told you I had been struck at the distance by certain attempts at ornamentation, rather remarkable in the ruinous aspect of the place.
    Joseph Conrad  --  Heart of Darkness
  • This it was which had caused the regular beating noise, and the rhythmic shocks that had kept our ruinous refuge quivering.
    H.G. Wells  --  The War of the Worlds
  • Many of them looked to have been worked by hands, though now they lay tumbled and ruinous in a bleak, barren land.
    J.R.R. Tolkien  --  The Fellowship of the Ring
  • Its apple-trees were stunted, its castle ruinous.
    E.M. Forster  --  Howards End
  • Could her son, Celia wonders, have inherited her habit of ruinous passion?
    Christina Garcia  --  Dreaming in Cuban
  • He acted for his conscience and with a lofty patriotism, regardless of what he knew must be the ruinous consequences to himself.
    John F. Kennedy  --  Profiles in Courage

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