I am trying to think of a noun that describes things that are destructive.
More specifically, a noun describing all devices and chemicals that cause destruction, encompassing explosives and chemicals like thermite and napalm.

I was thinking of using the word "destructive" itself as in having a list, the header being "Destructives:" in the same way you'd use the word "Explosives" to describe nouns that are explosive.

Can I use the word "Destructives" and if not are there any others I could use?

By the way, I am using this word in the context of a header of a list like I said above.


EDIT: I think I'll just use the word "Destructives". I guess it doesn't make perfect sense, but it kind of does because since it's the header of a list, it's describing each object on the list as destructive.
Also "explosives" makes sense so why not.

  • If these "destructives" are tools designed by humans for the primary purpose of harming or killing living things (especially other humans), then weapons will suit. Or even weapons of mass destruction (WMD, in the parlance). But, for example, a supernova is incredibly destructive, but not a weapon (yet). Does your word have to also cover supernovae?
    – Dan Bron
    Jun 12, 2016 at 16:12
  • 1
    What's wrong with simply "Destructive items/materials"?
    – TrevorD
    Jun 12, 2016 at 17:18
  • 1
    @TrevorD There's mention of devices and chemicals in my answer.
    – NVZ
    Jun 12, 2016 at 17:41
  • 1
    @NVZ Apologies - I didn't notice that. But, notwithstanding your quoted definition, I wouldn't normally understand "substance" to include "devices" and would therefore probably not use for that reason.
    – TrevorD
    Jun 12, 2016 at 17:52
  • 1
    @TrevorD I see your point. :)
    – NVZ
    Jun 12, 2016 at 17:54

1 Answer 1


Explosive (n.) means explosive (adj.) substance. — Wiktionary
Similarly, destructive (n.) to mean destructive (adj.) substance is understandable.

Destructive substanceLectLaw

Any explosive substance, flammable material, infernal machine, or other chemical, mechanical, or radioactive device or matter of a combustible, contaminative, corrosive, or explosive nature. USC 18

For further reading: 18 US Code Section 31 Definitions

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.