1540s, alteration of racen "pull or knock down" (a building or town), from earlier rasen (14c.) "to scratch, slash, scrape, erase," from Old French raser "to scrape, shave" (see rase). Related: Razed; razing.
late 14c., "remove by scraping, rub, scrape out, erase," from Old French raser "to scrape, shave," from Medieval Latin rasare, frequentative of Latin radere (past participle rasus) "to scrape, shave," perhaps from PIE *razd- (cf. Latin rastrum "rake"), possible extended form of root *red- "to scrape, scratch, gnaw" (see rodent). Related: Rased; rasing.