Use the word "ruin" when the quality of something has decreased a lot. It can be a situation or a relationship that is suddenly very bad:

  • She ruined dinner by leaving the food in the oven for too long.
  • The fire ruined the house. (active voice)
  • The house was ruined by the fire. (passive voice)
  • Carl ruined the relationship he had with his girlfriend by cheating on her.
  • Bad weather ruined the party we planned to have outside.
  • The women talked nonstop during the movie and ruined it for everyone.
  • You’re ruining my plans.
  • My plans are ruined. (You can use "ruined" as an adjective.)

You can also use "ruin" as a noun. In this case, it’s something that is completely destroyed, or the passage of time has damaged something, such as a building.

  • Their house lay in ruins after the fire.
  • Their plans are in ruins because the city wouldn’t give them a license to do business.
  • When you visit Italy, you can see the ruins of the Roman empire.
  • The army that invaded the city left it in ruins.
  • The ruins you see in Greece are thousands of years old.


Here are the ruins from some ancient empire.

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This page was first published on April 12, 2012. It was updated on May 25, 2015.