- to deprive and make desolate, especially by death (usually followed by of): Illness bereaved them of their mother.
- to deprive ruthlessly or by force (usually followed by of): The war bereaved them of their home.
- Obsolete. to take away by violence.
Origin of bereave
Examples from the Web for bereave
What we love that we have, but by desire we bereave ourselves of the love.Essays, First Series
Ralph Waldo Emerson
For as for that which doth not, it is its own fault and loss, if it bereave itself of her light.Meditations
Receive, and believe, and bereave should be cut out at once.How Doth the Simple Spelling Bee
I think of the fathers and mothers whom further fighting must bereave.Foch the Man
Clara E. Laughlin
It seemed as if God intended to bereave us of her, for he brought her even to death's door.The Wonders of Prayer
- (usually foll by of) to deprive (of) something or someone valued, esp through death
- obsolete to remove by force
Word Origin and History for bereave
Old English bereafian "to deprive of, take away, seize, rob," from be + reafian "rob, plunder," from Proto-Germanic *raubojanan, from PIE *reup- "to snatch" (see rapid). A common Germanic formation (cf. Old Frisian birava "despoil," Old Saxon biroban, Dutch berooven, Old High German biroubon, German berauben, Gothic biraubon). Since mid-17c., mostly in reference to life, hope, loved ones, and other immaterial possessions. Past tense forms bereaved and bereft have co-existed since 14c., now slightly differentiated in meaning, the former applied to loss of loved ones, the latter to circumstances.