Destroy: (v) 1. End the existence of (something) by damaging or attacking…
2. Ruin (someone) emotionally or spiritually
3. Defeat (someone) utterly
I wish writers and editors would buy a thesaurus. They aren’t expensive. The over used verbiage in headlines lately has caused a lot of keyboard to head banging moments on this side monitor. There seems to be a dearth of imagination out in the wilds of the web. In the last 24 hrs, I read 5 separate headlines that loudly proclaimed “This person DESTROYED [insert opposing candidate/idea] completely” or “Must see video that DESTROYS [insert oppositions] claims. I lost track of how many times it was used in the week. Over and over and over in the past few weeks editors are intent of proving the world has been utterly destroyed by some fallacious argument. It must be the copy editors flash card of the month word.
I look at the headlines and roll my eyes so often, one day they’ll stick in a permanent “Spare me” expression. Inevitably, the link will lead to some actor or comedian regurgitation same over done points. Then I have to endure the endless shares of the same articles with people who write “Oh you have to read this – so and so DESTROYED them”. I’ve started responding with “Um .. no they didn’t.” Usually the counter argument is teeth grindingly bad.
The point is, they don’t destroy anything. The word is over used, it’s lost all meaning. In no way have any of these posts proven an opposing point of view has been destroyed. The other person or idea is still there, the opposing arguments are still making the rounds. If the opposing arguments were well and truly destroyed we wouldn’t be seeing creationist museums being built or all opposing political parties would instantly cease to exist. Occasionally (very occasionally) I read an article that makes an excellent counterargument and does prove the other theory or idea is flawed. But again, the other side is not decimated, destroyed, pounded into non-existence, demolished, shattered, ruined … you get the idea.
If you’re an editor or writer buy a dictionary and discover what the word actually means. Then do me a favour and learn how to use a thesaurus and mix your words up a bit. As far as destroy is concerned … just stop using it, okay? Just stop.