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despoil (something) of (something)

To rob something valuable from a particular place or thing. I can't believe that a thief despoiled the art museum of an original Picasso. It seems that someone despoiled the ancient tomb of its jewels before we got here.
See also: despoil, of
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

despoil something of something

to make something, such as a town, tomb, or building, lose value by stealing from it; to rob something of something. The vandals despoiled the castle of much of its furnishings. The land was despoiled of its fertility by overplanting.
See also: despoil, of
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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References in periodicals archive ?
In previous narratives communists had defined capitalism as a force that visits exhaustion, despoilment and violence upon the forest, and these experiences are shared by labour in a process of dual exploitation rooted in a common spatial setting.
While England was at one point dreaded by its enemies, the foreign gaze now reveals England to be effeminate and, implicitly, worthy of the despoilment of its commodities.
The name Pild-Garlicke clearly emblematizes the character's appearance: 'Pild', an obsolete form of 'pilled' and 'peeled', indicates despoilment and impoverishment, and colorfully describes the baldness resulting from the pox(see OED, Pill, 1a; and Peel 1a.).
Clearly enamored of the culture it examines while resolutely remaining an outsider's romanticization of it, yarn is disappointingly content to recycle familiar attitudes about the nobility of ancient cultures, Western despoilment of them, liberal historical guilt, the unrestrainable greed of capitalists and the irreducible primacy of Hollywood movie stars.
Much of this money is "donated" in order to buy big-ticket items: the despoilment of the environment, the next generation of nuclear missiles, roadblocks in the path of generic arthritis and heart-attack medicines and the like.
In our annual Ten Worst Corporations of the Year feature, we try to highlight in stark terms the consequences of unrestrained corporations: despoilment of the natural environment, infliction of preventable disease on people, smashing of workers' democratically controlled unions, retaliation against the whistleblowers who seek to call attention to egregious corporate abuses, invasions of privacy, denial of care to the sick, needless endangering of consumers, and more.
imperialism of the Caribbean and Central America, the embargo of Iraq, economic injustice in this country and the despoilment of the earth.
By accepting free concessions granted by the government, the settlers participated in this despoilment. Nevertheless, motivated by unemployment and misery, those who searched for better living conditions by immigrating to Algeria were, at the turn of the century, not aware of the fact that the direct consequence of their presence on uncultivated ground would contribute to the progressive impoverishment of the Algerian Moslems.
DeLillo want us to see the things beneath our eyes, right on the surface but below the fantasies we insist on looking at, ordinary life as it has expressed itself among the people of a nation involved in a prolonged technological fantasy war, a fifty-year piece of theater at the end of the twentieth century, played out in the masks of strategic nuclear weapons and machines of despoilment.
Ronje's act stands as a metaphor for the despoilment of an entire culture: "Ayoko is the symbolic Mother of Shavi.
"There's a backlash against the overindulgence of the 1980s-the environmental despoilment and personal destruction," says one industry expert.
Widescale pollution and the despoilment of the environment are the inevitable results of failure to plan properly for and manage waste disposal.
Our Indian policy is a blot on the very name of Christianity, yet what Senator or what General proposes any change, except, perhaps, something a little more veiled and indirect in our inexorable system of despoilment and extermination?
If the turbines do what they're supposed to do and power all the homes they are claimed to power and enable us to reduce conventional power stations which are threatening the very future of mankind through climate change, then whatever the cost in terms of money and scenic despoilment will be worth it.