My question is,

Can you spoil a moment? for example, let's say I bring home a gift for my girlfriend and she's very excited to know what's in the box, after I open up the box and show her what it is, she responds "I didn't like it". Can we say that she "spoiled the moment" by saying that? or should I say that she ruined the moment? This question comes from a doubt I had while watching a TV series episode where two people are making love to each other when one of them says ""Shush, you're spoiling it"" which made me wonder whether spoil can also be used as ruin in that case.

How common is it to use spoil that way in contrast with the word ruin?

Can this be said in American English?


You can spoil or ruin a moment, an occasion, an event, a day, a vacation, or any event or period of time about which expectations were high. Both are very common; ruin is possibly stronger than spoil - you can intensify or modify either with words like "nearly", "almost", "completely", "totally", etc. Neither is 'better'. In American English the simple past & past participle are 'spoiled'; in British English they are 'spoilt'.

The Nets Spoil Another “Heisman Moment” for James Harden (US sports web site)

Canadiens goalie Carey Price spoiled the moment (US newspaper headline)

Romantic man doesn't let being arrested spoil the moment as he gets down on one knee and proposes (UK newspaper headline)

There was nothing that could spoil the moment of peace and tranquillity (UK newspaper article)

A hint: I found these by using Google. I typed, in quotes like this: "spoil the moment" in the search bar, followed by either UK or US (no quotes).

The occasion of a proposal of marriage is clearly something people don't want to be spoilt:

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To me, "ruined an occasion" would be more complete — a real 100% wreckage — whereas "spoiled an occasion" would connote hitting hard at the purpose or joy of the occasion but not necessarily wiping out all its value so completely. A subtle distinction, perhaps, but sometimes useful and important. Backed up by the following research:

Ruin | Definition of Ruin by Merriam-Webster Search domain www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ruinhttps://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ruin Ruin definition is - to damage irreparably.

Spoil | Definition of Spoil by Merriam-Webster Search domain www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spoilhttps://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spoil Spoil definition is - to damage seriously : ruin.

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