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[rav-uh-ning] /ˈræv ə nɪŋ/
rapacious; voracious.
Origin of ravening
First recorded in 1520-30; raven2 + -ing2, -ing1
Related forms
raveningly, adverb


[rav-uh n] /ˈræv ən/
verb (used without object)
to seek plunder or prey.
to eat or feed voraciously or greedily:
to raven like an animal.
to have a ravenous appetite.
verb (used with object)
to seize as spoil or prey.
to devour voraciously.
rapine; robbery.
plunder or prey.
Also, ravin.
1485-95; earlier ravine < Middle French raviner, ultimately < Latin rapīna rapine Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for ravening
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Has ravening aspiration any compunction; any contrite visitings of nature?

    The Strollers Frederic S. Isham
  • "She was a ravening beast," the man in tweeds started again.

    A Set of Six Joseph Conrad
  • At one o'clock the four elder ones would be upon her, ravening.

    Mary Gray Katharine Tynan
  • What manner Syrt, what ravening Scylla, what vasty Charybdis?

    The Carmina of Caius Valerius Catullus Caius Valerius Catullus
  • They fall often as victims to the ravening ambition of a single man.

    Legends of the Rhine Wilhelm Ruland
  • Between that ravening surface and the armor skin of the Boise there was nothing.

    Triplanetary Edward Elmer Smith
  • Their ravening lusts will consume thee to the soul, O woman!

    Thais Anatole France
  • Within thee there is ravening, but the outside thou makest clean.

    The Dhammapada Unknown
  • Ever since you have been wanting to show your bravery, you have been howling like a ravening wolf.

    Dona Perfecta B. Perez Galdos
British Dictionary definitions for ravening


(esp of animals such as wolves) voracious; predatory
Derived Forms
raveningly, adverb


a traditional trickster hero among the native peoples of the Canadian Pacific Northwest
Word Origin
from raven1


a large passerine bird, Corvus corax, having a large straight bill, long wedge-shaped tail, and black plumage: family Corvidae (crows). It has a hoarse croaking cry
  1. a shiny black colour
  2. (as adjective): raven hair
Word Origin
Old English hrǣfn; related to Old High German hraban, Old Norse hrafn


to seize or seek (plunder, prey, etc)
to eat (something) voraciously or greedily; be ravenous in eating
Derived Forms
ravener, noun
Word Origin
C15: from Old French raviner to attack impetuously; see ravenous
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 ravening

"voracious," 1520s, present participle adjective from an extinct verb raven "to prey, to plunder, devour greedily" (late 14c., implied in ravener), from Old French raviner (see ravenous). It is not etymologically related to raven (n.).



Old English hræfn (Mercian), hrefn; hræfn (Northumbrian, West Saxon), from Proto-Germanic *khrabanas (cf. Old Norse hrafn, Danish ravn, Dutch raaf, Old High German hraban, German Rabe "raven," Old English hroc "rook"), from PIE root *ker-, imitative of harsh sounds (cf. Latin crepare "to creak, clatter," cornix "crow," corvus "raven;" Greek korax "raven," korone "crow;" Old Church Slavonic kruku "raven;" Lithuanian krauklys "crow").

Raven mythology shows considerable homogeneity throughout the whole area [northern regions of the northern hemisphere] in spite of differences in detail. The Raven peeps forth from the mists of time and the thickets of mythology, as a bird of slaughter, a storm bird, a sun and fire bird, a messenger, an oracular figure and a craftsman or culture hero. [Edward A. Armstrong, "The Folklore of Birds," 1958]
Old English also used hræmn, hremm. The raven standard was the flag of the Danish Vikings. The Quran connects the raven with Cain's murder of Abel; but in Christianity the bird plays a positive role in the stories of St. Benedict, St. Paul the Hermit, St. Vincent, etc. It was anciently believed to live to great old age, but the ancients also believed it wanting in parental care. The vikings, like Noah, were said to have used the raven to discover land. "When uncertain of their course they let one loose, and steered the vessel in his track, deeming that the land lay in the direction of his flight; if he returned to the ship, it was supposed to be at a distance" [Charles Swainson, "The Folk Lore and Provincial Names of British Birds," London, 1886].

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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