ruin

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go to wrack and ruin

To fall into severe or total decay, degradation, or ruination, as from disuse or lack of upkeep. ("Wrack," a now-archaic word meaning wreckage or destruction, is also often spelled "rack.") It greatly pains me that my grandfather's estate has been left to go to wrack and ruin. If only we'd been able to afford for someone to look after it all these years. The neighbor's property has really gone to wrack and ruin lately. I'm thinking about filing a complaint with the neighborhood association!
See also: and, ruin, wrack

go to rack and ruin

To fall into severe or total decay, degradation, or ruination, as from disuse or lack of upkeep. ("Rack" here is a variant spelling of "wrack," a now-archaic word meaning wreckage or destruction.) It greatly pains me that my grandfather's estate has been left to go to rack and ruin. If only we'd been able to afford for someone to look after it for all these years. The neighbor's property has really gone to rack and ruin lately. I'm thinking about filing a complaint with the neighborhood association!
See also: and, rack, ruin

wrack and ruin

Utter destruction or ruination; severe or total decay or degradation, as from disuse or lack of upkeep. ("Wrack," a now-archaic word meaning wreckage or destruction, is also often spelled "rack.") Used especially in the phrase "go to wrack and ruin." The wrack and ruin of my grandfather's estate pains me greatly. If only we'd been able to afford for someone to look after it for all these years. The neighbor's property has really gone to wrack and ruin lately. I'm thinking about filing a complaint with the neighborhood association!
See also: and, ruin, wrack

rack and ruin

Utter destruction or ruination; severe or total decay or degradation, as from disuse or lack of upkeep. ("Rack" here is a variant spelling of "wrack," a now-archaic word meaning wreckage or destruction.) Used especially in the phrase "go to rack and ruin." The rack and ruin of my grandfather's estate pains me greatly. If only we'd been able to afford for someone to look after it for all these years. The neighbor's property has really gone to rack and ruin lately. I'm thinking about filing a complaint with the neighborhood association!
See also: and, rack, ruin

go to rack and ruin

 and go to wrack and ruin
to become ruined. (The words rack and wrack mean "wreckage" and are found only in this expression.) That lovely old house on the corner is going to go to rack and ruin. My lawn is going to wrack and ruin.
See also: and, rack, ruin

*in ruins

in a state of destruction. (*Typically: be ~; lay ~; leave something ~.) The enemy army left the cities they attacked in ruins. The crops laid in ruins after the flood.
See also: ruin

lie in ruins

to exist in a state of ruin, such as a destroyed city, building, scheme, plan, etc. The entire city lay in ruins. My garden lay in ruins after the cows got in and trampled everything.
See also: lie, ruin

ruin of someone or something

the cause of destruction; a failure. Your bad judgment will be the ruin of this company! The greedy politicians were the ruin of the old empire.
See also: of, ruin

wrack and ruin

Cliché complete destruction or ruin. They went back after the fire and saw the wrack and ruin that used to be their house. Drinking brought him nothing but wrack and ruin.
See also: and, ruin, wrack

rack and ruin, go to

Also, go to wrack and ruin. Become decayed, decline or fall apart, as in After the founder's death the business went to rack and ruin. These expressions are emphatic redundancies, since rack and wrack (which are actually variants of the same word) mean "destruction" or "ruin." [Mid-1500s]
See also: and, rack

go to rack and ruin

If something goes to rack and ruin, it gets into a very bad state, because nobody looks after it or deals properly with it. This beautiful building was left to go to rack and ruin. The country is going to rack and ruin under this government. Note: You can also say that something falls into rack and ruin During these years, historical monuments were allowed to fall into rack and ruin. Note: The expression rack and ruin can also be used without these verbs. According to Michael, the whole country's heading for rack and ruin. Note: Less commonly, this expression is spelt wrack and ruin. A once magnificent country house has now fallen into wrack and ruin. Note: `Wrack' means the same as `wreck', something that has been destroyed.
See also: and, rack, ruin

go to rack and ruin

gradually deteriorate in condition because of neglect; fall into disrepair.
Rack is a variant spelling of the word wrack , meaning ‘destruction’, but it is the standard one in this expression, which has been in use since the late 16th century.
1998 Oldie The allotment below mine looks set to go to rack and ruin from its previous well-tended state.
See also: and, rack, ruin

go to ˌrack and ˈruin

get into bad condition because of lack of care: The house has gone to rack and ruin over the last few years.The country is going to rack and ruin under this government.
Rack in this idiom means ‘destruction’.
See also: and, rack, ruin

on the ˌroad to ˈruin, diˈsaster, etc.

following a course of action that will lead to ruin, disaster, etc: I don’t know whether it was losing his job or the divorce that set him on the road to ruin.
See also: on, road

in ˈruins

badly damaged or destroyed: The city was in ruins at the end of the war.Their life was in ruins after the death of their only child.
See also: ruin

rack and ruin

Completely destroyed. “Rack” is a variant of “wrack,” meaning “wreck.” Accordingly, something (or someone) that has gone to rack and ruin is totally devastated.
See also: and, rack, ruin
References in classic literature ?
He usually keeps his ground just long enough for his own ruin, and is then thrust out, with sinews all unstrung, to totter along the difficult footpath of life as he best may.
After all the trouble, we could be certain of only one thing--the square-topped hill was the Acropolis, and the grand ruin that crowned it was the Parthenon, whose picture we knew in infancy in the school books.
The outer wall was fifty feet in height where it had not fallen into ruin, but nowhere as far as they could see had more than ten or twenty feet of the upper courses fallen away.
I will join you when I have searched this old ruin from top to bottom, and found the gold, or found that there is none.
Realizing that the section through which we had been passing was doubtless outlying, and therefore not so built up with large structures as the more centrally located part of the old town, I felt sure that farther down the river I should find the ruins larger.
presented a grand pile of ruins, in the midst of which door-cases and masses of timber stood up, as if floating in a stream.
We are not going to follow the worthy old stockbroker through those last pangs and agonies of ruin through which he passed before his commercial demise befell.
On the right bank, two or three miles below the Spectacular Ruin, we passed by a noble pile of castellated buildings overlooking the water from the crest of a lofty elevation.
I am willing to help rebuild your fortune, but I will not be an accomplice in the ruin of others.
Prophetic sounds and loud, arise forever "From us, and from all Ruin, unto the wise, "As melody from Memnon to the Sun.
I prefer," Trent said, "a crisis now, to ruin in the future.
The Danes, fierce and lawless, carrying sword and firebrand wherever they passed, leaving death and ruin in their track, surged over the land.
A few moments now passed in silence between these lovers, while his eyes were eagerly fixed on Sophia, and hers declining towards the ground: at last she recovered strength enough to desire him again to leave her, for that her certain ruin would be the consequence of their being found together; adding, "Oh, Mr Jones, you know not, you know not what hath passed this cruel afternoon.
Knowing as she does that I dislike him, she will suspect me, and think that I want to ruin her match.
A wall, a ruin, a sturdy gable end, would rise up in the road; and, when they were plunging headlong at it, would be the road itself.