Definitions from Black's Law Dictionary: 2nd Edition and Ballentine's Law Dictionary as are available for each term in each dictionary.
  • Black's Law Dictionary: 2nd Edition

    As used In policies of Insurance, leases, and in maritime law, this term is often applied to an act which renders the subject useless for its intended purpose, though it does not literally demolish or annihilate it. In re McCabe, 11 Pa. Super. Ct. 564; Solomon v. Kingston, 24 Hun (N. Y.) 564; Insurance Co. v. Feibelman, 118 Ala. 308, 23 South. 759; Spalding v. Munford, 37 Mo. App. 281. To "destroy" a vessel means to unfit It for further service, beyond the hope of recovery by ordinary means. U. S. v. Johns, 26 Fed. Cas. 618. In relation to wills, contracts, and other documents, the term "destroy" does not import the annihilation of the instrument or its resolution into other forms of matter, but a destruction of its legal efficacy, which may be by cancellation, obliterating, tearing into fragments, etc. Appeal of Evans, 58 Pa. 244; Allen v. State Bank, 21 N. C. 12; In re Gangwere's Estate, 14 Pa. 417, 53 Am. Dec. 554; Johnson v. Brailsford, 2 Nott & McC. (S. C.) 272, 10 Am. Dec. 601.