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destruct (v.)

"to destroy," 1958, probably a back-formation from destruction in the jargon of U.S. aerospace and defense workers to refer to deliberate destruction of a missile in flight by a friendly agent; popularized 1966 in form self-destruct in the voice-over at the beginning of TV spy drama "Mission Impossible." OED records an isolated use of destructed from 17c., in this case probably from Latin destructus, past participle of destruere.

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