"to deprive of the testicles, emasculate," 1610s (implied in castrated), back-formation from castration (q.v.), or from Latin castratus, past participle of castrare "to castrate, emasculate; to prune," supposedly from a noun *castrum "knife, instrument that cuts," from PIE root *kes- "to cut." The figurative sense "destroy the strength or vitality of" is attested earlier (1550s). Related: Castrating.
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