lay waste (third-person singular simple present lays waste, present participle laying waste, simple past and past participle laid waste)

  1. (transitive) To completely destroy, especially of a geographical area or region.
    • 2017 January 12, Jesse Hassenger, “A literal monster truck is far from the stupidest thing about Monster Trucks”, in The Onion AV Club[1]:
      In addition to racking up what looks like a substantial offscreen body count, the movie at one point offers an eight-second introduction for a sleazy used-car salesman character for the sole purpose of justifying Tripp and Creech laying waste to his inventory.
    • 1990, Peter Hopkirk, The Great Game, Folio Society 2010, p. 16:
      Thirsting for revenge, his troops stormed the fortress of Kazan on the upper Volga in 1553, slaughtering the defenders just as the Mongols had done when they laid waste Russia's great cities.

Usage notesEdit

Sometimes takes "to" instead of being simply transitive. Thus, "...they laid waste to Russia's great cities" would be an acceptable alternative to the quote above.