There are a few different words I've found with the meaning of "one who destroys or ruins", though most are fairly rare or only poetical. Is there a more commonly used word that I am missing? It seems like something that would have been used frequently considering how much we humans war with each other.

Some examples I've found:

  1. ēversor: the d. of Carthage, Carthaginis e., Quint.
  2. exstinctor: the d. of his country, patriae ex., Cic.
  3. confector: fire the d. and consumer of all things, c. et consumptor omnium ignis, Cic.: d. of wild beasts, ferarum c., Suet.
  4. perdĭtor: the d. of the republic, reipublicae p., Cic.
  5. pĕremptor: d. of an illustrious king, inclyti regis p., Sen.: Apul.: fem. peremptrix, Tert.
  6. intĕremptor: d. of his master, int. heri sui, Sen.: Val. Max.: fem. interemptrix, Lact.: Tert.

Edit: The context for this is to describe the sun, which can give life but is also a destroyer of life. However, I am interested in other words that may have other contexts.

  • 4
    "Best" is subjective, but also really depends on the context. How will it be used? To whom will it be applied? What did that person do to earn that name? These questions are actually critical here precisely because there are so many words from which you can choose.
    – cmw
    Feb 8, 2022 at 16:52
  • Vastātor is another option. You might also consider the present participle of a common verb, if you are talking about a particular situation: "the one destroying.". Feb 8, 2022 at 17:14
  • Good call, @cmw. The usage in this case is to describe the sun, which can give life but is also a destroyer of life.
    – Adam
    Feb 8, 2022 at 18:20
  • That comment should have gone in the body of the question, to prevent answers that do not fit the question.
    – cmw
    Nov 1, 2022 at 14:52
  • Good call. I updated the question.
    – Adam
    Nov 2, 2022 at 0:46

2 Answers 2


I'd say "deletor", as the only word for "destroy" that I know is "delere" ("Ceterum, censeo Carthaginem delendam esse." - "As for other things, I think Carthaga should be destroyed.").


That would be usually be populator, if you are talking about destroying big things or many people. Examples:

luxus populator opum (Luxury, the destroyer of wealth) Claudian
populator Achilles Iliaca ambustis ossibus arva premit
   (The Destroyer, Achilles, rests his charred bones on the Trojan fields) Ovid

If you are talking about mostly destroying just one thing or person, then you can use extinctor or perditor as in hic praepotens cruenti extinctor Antichristi (He is the destroyer of the bloody Antichrist) Prudentius.

If you are talking about destruction in the clinical sense, like demolishing a building, tearing something down purposefully (not harmfully), then you should use the word destructor. The words aedificator and destructor are antonyms. Along the same lines, a slightly stronger word that means to overthrow in the context of politics is eversor. The words fabricator and eversor are antonyms.

If you are talking about destruction personified, not about something that is acting as a destroyer, then there are various options, notably Pestis (the plague), Letum (=Death personified), and Perditio (perdition).

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