I'm looking for the verb meaning "turn to dust" in the sense that the card can be broken into pieces and dust. The best candidates for me right now are "dismantle", "fission", "shatter", "break".

To give more context: I'm making a game where there are cards with souls embroidered into said cards. Later, the player can destroy the card which will give him the dust and the blank card in return. I'm looking for the verb describing the process of breaking the card in such specific way.

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    Crumble and disintegrate are probably the best that you're going to find. – Mick Sep 30 '16 at 14:23
  • Hmm, if it's a soul you're removing from a card and the card remains intact but blank, you might think about exorcising the soul and the dust being spiritual residue. Souls tend to be thought of as eternal. You can move them around, or swallow them but it's rare to think of them as being destroyed. – ColleenV Sep 30 '16 at 14:45
  • @ColleenV well yeah, but the main catch here is that souls can be shattered to pieces, like atoms during this process hence "fission" came to my mind. – GuardianX Sep 30 '16 at 14:47
  • Ah, I see - I edited your comment to change 'shuttered' to 'shattered' because I assumed that was a typo. Shatter is a good word but does result in pieces instead of dust. – ColleenV Sep 30 '16 at 15:01
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    Is the card actually being destroyed? The output of a blank card suggests removing something from the card rather than actually destroying it. – jpmc26 Sep 30 '16 at 17:52

Pulverise means literally:

  • to reduce to dust or powder, as by pounding or grinding.


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    +1 I was thinking of that, but it didn't surface to my brain. – Alan Carmack Sep 30 '16 at 14:43
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    @GuardianX: this is good, but maybe sounds slightly inappropriate for a card. It works best for materials like rock that will turn to dust under enough pressure, and also implies that the mechanism for turning to dust involves a lot of force. Disintegrate (as suggested by Mick's comment) might be a better word if it's magic rather than putting the card in a grinder. I guess with the right kind of grinding you could turn paper/plastic to dust, so maybe this does work after all. – Peter Cordes Sep 30 '16 at 15:16
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    In AmE it's "pulverize", by the way. – Andrew Sep 30 '16 at 16:35
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    @PeterCordes It also suggests that nothing of the original besides the "dust" will remain, which conflicts with the "blank card" output. – jpmc26 Sep 30 '16 at 17:50
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    @jpmc26: wow, I missed that in the question. Everything else about the way it was written implied destroying the physical card, along with accepting this answer. Pulverise definitely implies "by physical force", which is incompatible with leaving the card physically undamaged but blank. A magic soul-grinder doesn't fit the "by grinding" part of the implied meaning (e.g. two large rocks sliding together, which isn't the kind of grinding that would really turn a paper card to dust quickly either, hence the objection when I thought that's what was being asked). – Peter Cordes Sep 30 '16 at 18:55

Since you are talking about breaking down a card into other materials, it makes sense to use disintegrate to refer to separating a card into its components.


to break apart into many small parts or pieces

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

break into parts or components or lose cohesion or unity

Source: Vocabulary.com

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to rid of or free from enchantment, illusion, credulity, etc.

source: dictionary.com

Or, more generally: to remove magic

This term is often used in fantasy games with similar crafting mechanics. While it refers less explicitly to physical "dust-ification", it does imply the removal of the magical component without necessarily damaging the underlying object. Such a process may yield a blank card and magical dust

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    @JoshuaLamusga The OP describes it as "destroying" the card, but then they say that a blank card is one of the outputs. This seems to suggest removing something from the card, instead of actually "destroying" it. It does depend on the OP's particular lore, of course, but this is a pretty good suggestion. – jpmc26 Sep 30 '16 at 17:51
  • @jpmc26 That makes sense. – person27 Sep 30 '16 at 18:29

I'm making a game where there are cards with souls embroidered into said cards. Later, the player can destroy the card which will give him the dust and the blank card in return


KOM-uh-noot, -nyoot

reduce to small pieces or particles by pounding or abrading

It's not as common as pulverise (pulverize), but it expresses the concept of fracturing something into small pieces or grinding it down.

Comminuted Radius Fracture
Comminuted Radius Fracture

Ngram pulverised/pulverized vs comminuted

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verb des·ic·cate \ˈde-si-ˌkāt\

Definition of desiccate

desiccatedn, desiccating

transitive verb

1: to dry up

2: to preserve (a food) by drying : dehydrate

3: to drain of emotional or intellectual vitality

intransitive verb

: to become dried up

desiccation play \ˌde-si-ˈkā-shən\ noun

desiccative play \ˈde-si-ˌkā-tiv\ adjective

desiccator play \ˈde-si-ˌkā-tər\ noun

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  • Are you quoting something? If so please link to the source. – Alan Carmack Sep 30 '16 at 16:16
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    Things often crumble to dust easily when dried out, but desiccate alone does not imply that this actually happens. However, desiccating a soul card and having the soul crumble off the card could work. – Peter Cordes Sep 30 '16 at 18:20
  • I edited your answer because it is a common practice on ELL to use block quote formatting, since it doesn't strain the eyes so much. I second what @Peter said, you should provide a reference with your quote. – Lucky Oct 1 '16 at 9:03
  • @AlanCarmack, Yeah, my bad. I was in a hurry. – Greg Nickoloff Oct 18 '16 at 20:31

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