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[rav-ij] /ˈræv ɪdʒ/
verb (used with object), ravaged, ravaging.
to work havoc upon; damage or mar by ravages:
a face ravaged by grief.
verb (used without object), ravaged, ravaging.
to work havoc; do ruinous damage.
havoc; ruinous damage:
the ravages of war.
devastating or destructive action.
Origin of ravage
1605-15; < French, Middle French, equivalent to rav(ir) to ravish + -age -age
Related forms
ravagement, noun
ravager, noun
unravaged, adjective
Can be confused
ravage, ravish.
ravenous, ravaging, ravishing (see synonym study at ravenous)
1. ruin, despoil, plunder, pillage, sack. 4. ruin, waste, desolation.
1. build, repair. 4. creation.
Synonym Study
1. Ravage, devastate, lay waste all refer, in their literal application, to the wholesale destruction of a countryside by an invading army (or something comparable). Lay waste has remained the closest to the original meaning of destruction of land: The invading army laid waste the towns along the coast. But ravage and devastate are used in reference to other types of violent destruction and may also have a purely figurative application. Ravage is often used of the results of epidemics: The Black Plague ravaged 14th-century Europe; and even of the effect of disease or suffering on the human countenance: a face ravaged by despair. Devastate, in addition to its concrete meaning (vast areas devastated by bombs), may be used figuratively: a devastating remark. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for ravager
Historical Examples
  • All the crops, as far as it extended its flight, fell before this ravager.

  • What a good thing it was he had not killed the ravager of his home!

  • He looked back at the pack working out his line in the fields below him, and saw that ravager was at their head.

    Lives of the Fur Folk M. D. Haviland
  • This checked the hounds for a moment, but ravager cast forward, and presently they came on faster than ever.

    Lives of the Fur Folk M. D. Haviland
  • We speak with dread of the beasts of prey: what beast of prey is so dire a ravager as man,—so cruel and so treacherous?

    A Strange Story, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • A grey bear visited the folds at Hleithargarth; many such a ravager was there far and wide throughout the country.

    Beowulf R. W. Chambers
  • Congestion of the lungs vies with sleeping sickness as the ravager of Middle Africa, and especially certain parts of the Congo.

    An African Adventure Isaac F. Marcosson
  • The good fortune that secured me the ravaged pupa taught me nothing concerning the tactics of the ravager.

    The Life of the Fly J. Henri Fabre
  • Has this pigmy of the family the same talents as the giant, the ravager of the oak-tree?

  • In the centre of this circle was placed the ravager of the World, and round it a rampart of shields.

    Harold, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
British Dictionary definitions for ravager


to cause extensive damage to
(often pl) destructive action: the ravages of time
Derived Forms
ravagement, noun
ravager, noun
Word Origin
C17: from French, from Old French ravir to snatch away, ravish
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
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Word Origin and History for ravager



1610s, from French ravager "lay waste, devastate," from Old French ravage "destruction," especially by flood (14c.), from ravir "to take away hastily" (see ravish). Related: Ravaged; ravaging.



1610s, from French ravage "destruction" (see ravage (v.)). Related: Ravages.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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