late 14c., destruier, destroier, "a plunderer, a killer," agent noun from the verb in English (see destroy) and from Old French destruiere, from destruire.
As a type of small, fast warship, 1894, short for torpedo-boat destroyer (1885); their original purpose was to guard battleships and commercial ships against attacks from small, swift torpedo-boats (a name attested from 1864 in the American Civil War). An important design modification of the torpedo-boat, confusingly, was named "Destroyer," designed by John Ericsson and launched late in 1878 in New York but never brought in service in the U.S. Navy. The class has been generally called destroyers since World War I, when their chief purpose shifted to escort work and attacking submarines.
native people of Peru and surrounding regions, 1811, from Spanish, according to OED from Quechua (Inca) kechua "plunderer, destroyer." Also the name of their language. Related: Quechuan.
"one who exercises undue severity in the use of power or authority," c. 1400, oppressour, from Old French opresseor, from Latin oppressor "a crusher, a destroyer," from opprimere (see oppress (v.)). In Middle English also "a criminal; a rapist" (mid-15c.).
1640s, "noxious, poisonous," from Medieval Latin deleterius, from Greek dēlētērios "noxious," from dēlētēr "destroyer," from dēlēisthai "to hurt, injure," of which Beekes writes, "the verb is probably non-IE, i.e. Pre-Greek." From 1823 as "mentally or morally hurtful or injurious." Related: Deleteriously; deleteriousness.
also reiver, Middle English rever, revere, "robber, destroyer, plunderer," Old English reafere "plundering forager," agent noun from reafian "to rob, plunder" (see reave (v.)). Similar formation in Old Frisian ravere, Middle Dutch rover, Dutch roover, Old High German roubari, German Räuber. Middle English rēverie (c. 1300) meant "robbery, plundering."