Headway Word of the Week

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spoil (verb)

If you spoil something, you make it worse in some way. It often means that it is made less attractive or less enjoyable.

  • The wedding was nice, but it rained all day, which spoiled the party in the garden afterwards.
  • The newly built office block has spoilt the view from my window.

(The Past Simple and past participle can be spelt in two ways: spoiled or spoilt.)

Check out things you can spoil

  • You can spoil a dress by spilling red wine on it.
  • You can spoil your food by putting too much salt on it.
  • You can spoil your someone's wedding day by arriving uninvited!
  • You can spoil a child by not being strict enough, and by allowing him/her to have anything they want.
  • You can spoil your girlfriend by buying her flowers and taking her to a nice restaurant.
  • You can spoil somebody's chances by not helping them.

Check out these expressions

  • My next door neighbour is a spoilsport. He calls the police if we have a party after 10 o'clock, and if the children kick their football into his garden, he refuses to give it back.
  • My boss behaves like a spoilt child sometimes. He gets very angry if he can't do something exactly the way he wants.
  • The guys in the pub were spoiling for a fight. They were deliberately being rude to the people on the next table, hoping to make them angry.
  • Should I have the fish or the beef or the lamb? I really don't know – I'm spoilt for choice.
  • On Mother's day, the children bought me flowers, chocolates and jewellery, made me breakfast in bed, and took me for dinner. They really spoilt me rotten.

Check out related words

  • ruin
  • destroy
  • shrink
  • rot
  • indulge

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