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self-de·struct • v. [intr.] (of a thing) destroy itself by exploding or disintegrating automatically, having been preset to do so: the tape would automatically self-destruct after twenty minutes. ∎  [as adj.] denoting a device that enables or causes something to destroy itself in such a way: the self-destruct button.DERIVATIVES: self-de·struc·tion n.self-de·struc·tive adj.self-de·struc·tive·ly adv.