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[ruh-pey-shuh s]
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  1. given to seizing for plunder or the satisfaction of greed.
  2. inordinately greedy; predatory; extortionate: a rapacious disposition.
  3. (of animals) subsisting by the capture of living prey; predacious.

Origin of rapacious

1645–55; < Latin rapāci- (stem of rapāx greedy, akin to rapere to seize; see rape1) + -ous
Related formsra·pa·cious·ly, adverbra·pac·i·ty [ruh-pas-i-tee] /rəˈpæs ɪ ti/, ra·pa·cious·ness, nounun·ra·pa·cious, adjectiveun·ra·pa·cious·ly, adverbun·ra·pa·cious·ness, noun


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2. ravenous, voracious, grasping; preying.

Synonym study

2. See avaricious.


2. generous.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for rapacity


  1. practising pillage or rapine
  2. greedy or grasping
  3. (of animals, esp birds) subsisting by catching living prey
Derived Formsrapaciously, adverbrapacity (rəˈpæsɪtɪ) or rapaciousness, noun

Word Origin

C17: from Latin rapāx grasping, from rapere to seize
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for rapacity


1540s, from Middle French rapacité (16c.), from Latin rapacitatem (nominative rapacitas) "greediness," from rapax (genitive rapacis) "grasping, plundering," from rapere "seize" (see rapid).



1650s, from Latin rapaci-, stem of rapax "grasping," itself from stem of rapere "to seize" (see rapacity) + -ous. Related: Rapaciously; rapaciousness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper