1560s, "to destroy the structural character of (a building, wall, etc.), by violently pulling it to pieces," from French demoliss-, present-participle stem of démolir "to destroy, tear down" (late 14c.), from Latin demoliri "tear down," from de "down" (see de-) + moliri "build, construct," from moles (genitive molis) "massive structure" (see mole (n.3)). Figurative sense of "to destroy, lay waste" is from 1610s; humorously, "to consume," by 1756. Related: Demolished; demolishing.
"causing destruction, tending to destroy," late 15c. (Caxton), from Old French destructif (14c.), from Late Latin destructivus, from destruct-, past-participle stem of Latin destruere "to tear down, demolish" (see destroy). Related: Destructively; destructiveness.
c. 1200, destruien, later destroien, "to overthrow, lay waste, ruin," from Old French destruire "destroy, ravage, lay waste" (12c., Modern French détruire), from Vulgar Latin *destrugere (source of Italian distruggere), refashioned (influenced by destructus), from Latin destruere "tear down, demolish," literally "un-build," from de "un-, down" (see de-) + struere "to pile, build" (from PIE *streu-, extended form of root *stere- "to spread").
From c. 1300 as "to kill, slay," also "to pull down, demolish" (what has been built); also "bring to naught, put an end to." Related: Destroyed; destroying.
c. 1300, destruccioun "ruin;" early 14c., "act of destroying, devastation; state of being destroyed," from Old French destruction (12c.) and directly from Latin destructionem (nominative destructio) "a pulling down, destruction," noun of action from past-participle stem of destruere "tear down, demolish," literally "un-build," from de "un-, down" (see de-) + struere "to pile, build" (from PIE *streu-, extended form of root *stere- "to spread"). Meaning "cause of destruction" is from late 14c.
Old English fællan (Mercian), fyllan (West Saxon) "make fall, cause to fall," also "strike down, demolish, kill," from Proto-Germanic *falljanan "strike down, cause to fall" (source also of Old Frisian falla, Old Saxon fellian, Dutch fellen, Old High German fellen, German fällen, Old Norse fella, Danish fælde), causative of *fallanan (source of Old English feallan; see fall (v.)), showing i-mutation. Related: Felled; feller; felling.
early 15c., pulverisen, "reduce to powder or dust," from Late Latin pulverizare "reduce to powder or dust," from Latin pulvis (genitive pulveris) "dust, powder," which perhaps is related to Latin pollen "mill dust; fine flour" (and thus the other words under pollen), but de Vaan and others find that "the semantic connection of 'dust' with 'chaff' is uncompelling" because flour and chaff "are each other's opposite when processing grain. Of course, via a primary meaning 'to grind' or 'fine dust', they may be connected." Figurative sense of "break down, demolish" is by 1630s. Related: Pulverized; pulverizing; pulverizable.
"wireless transmission of voice signals with radio waves," 1907, abstracted or shortened from earlier combinations such as radio-receiver (1903), radiophone "instrument for the production of sound by radiant energy" (1881), radio-telegraphy "means of sending telegraph messages by radio rather than by wire" (1898), from radio- as a combining form of Latin radius "beam" (see radius). Use for "radio receiver" is attested by 1913; sense of "sound broadcasting as a medium" also is from 1913.
That winter, however—the winter of 1921-22—[radio] came with a rush. Soon everybody was talking, not about wireless telephony, but about radio. A San Francisco paper described the discovery that millions were making: "There is radio music in the air, every night, everywhere. Anybody can hear it at home on a receiving set, which any boy can put up in an hour." In February President Harding had an outfit installed in his study, and the Dixmoor Golf Club announced that it would install a "telephone" to enable golfers to hear church services. [Frederick Lewis Allen, "Only Yesterday: An Informal History of the 1920's," 1931]
It is not a dream, but a probability that the radio will demolish blocs, cut the strings of red tape, actuate the voice "back home," dismantle politics and entrench the nation's executive in a position of power unlike that within the grasp of any executive in the world's history. [The Reading Eagle, Reading, Pa., U.S.A., March 16, 1924]
As late as July 1921 the New York Times was calling it wireless telephony, and wireless remained widespread until World War II, when military preference for radio established it as the word. As an adjective by 1912, "by radio transmission;" meaning "controlled by radio" is from 1974. Radio _______ as the proper name of a particular radio station or service, "radio station or service from _______" is by 1920. A radio shack (1946) was a small outbuilding housing radio equipment.