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[rav-uh-nuh s] /ˈræv ə nəs/
extremely hungry; famished; voracious:
feeling ravenous after a hard day's work.
extremely rapacious:
a ravenous jungle beast.
intensely eager for gratification or satisfaction.
Origin of ravenous
1350-1400; Middle English < Old French ravineus, equivalent to ravin(er) to raven2 + -eus -ous
Related forms
ravenously, adverb
ravenousness, noun
Can be confused
ravenous, ravaging, ravishing (see synonym study at the current entry)
1. greedy, starved, devouring. Ravenous, ravening, voracious suggest a greediness for food and usually intense hunger. Ravenous implies extreme hunger, or a famished condition: ravenous wild beasts. Ravening adds the idea of fierceness and savagery, especially as shown in a violent manner of acquiring food: ravening wolves. Voracious implies craving or eating a great deal of food: a voracious child; a voracious appetite. It may also be used figuratively: a voracious reader. 2. predatory.
1. sated. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for ravenous
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Nothing smells as nice as eggs and bacon when you are hungry, and we were ravenous.

    Set in Silver Charles Norris Williamson and Alice Muriel Williamson
  • At dinner-time he was hungry; at supper-time he was ravenous.

    IT and Other Stories Gouverneur Morris
  • As this was impossible she became like a ravenous wild beast.

    The Grandee Armando Palacio Valds
  • And a whole pound would not have been enough for her in her ravenous condition.

    Nobody's Girl Hector Malot
  • The smell of the victuals made me ravenous, and I ate until I could eat no more.

    Diary of an Enlisted Man Lawrence Van Alstyne
British Dictionary definitions for ravenous


famished; starving
rapacious; voracious
Derived Forms
ravenously, adverb
ravenousness, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Old French ravineux, from Latin rapīna plunder, 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
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Word Origin and History for ravenous

late 14c., "obsessed with plundering, extremely greedy," from Old French ravinos, of people, "rapacious, violent," of water, "swift-flowing," from raviner "to seize," from ravine "violent rush, robbery" (see ravine). Meaning "voracious, very hungry" is from early 15c. Related: Ravenously; ravenousness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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