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[rav-ish] /ˈræv ɪʃ/
verb (used with object)
to fill with strong emotion, especially joy.
to seize and carry off by force.
to carry off (a woman) by force.
to rape (a woman).
Origin of ravish
1250-1300; Middle English ravishen < Middle French raviss-, long stem of ravir to seize ≪ Latin rapere; see rape1
Related forms
ravishedly, adverb
ravisher, noun
unravished, adjective
Can be confused
ravage, ravish.
1. enrapture, transport, enthrall, delight, captivate. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for ravish
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It was, indeed, filled with all that might dazzle and ravish the sight.

  • What war could ravish, commerce could bestow, And he returned a friend, who came a foe.

    Essay on Man Alexander Pope
  • I will engage them conversationally and ravish them with erect and quivering adjectives.

    Fantazius Mallare Ben Hecht
  • The danger that England or France might ravish it away from us came to the fore.

  • The law of rape, until 1849, used these words: "If any man do ravish a woman," &c.

    A Defence of Virginia Robert L. Dabney
  • The smell of these roses in the summer was quite enough to ravish you.

  • Callot's men are users of the wheel and the estrapade; they roast the husband while they ravish the wife.

    George Cruikshank W. H. Chesson
  • It was a feat altogether to ravish a delighted father's heart, and no wonder that he counted John so great a comfort.


    Martin Farquhar Tupper
  • They were licensed to break up Negro frolics, whip the men, and ravish the women.

British Dictionary definitions for ravish


verb (transitive)
(often passive) to give great delight to; enrapture
to rape
(archaic) to carry off by force
Derived Forms
ravisher, noun
ravishment, noun
Word Origin
C13: from Old French ravir, from Latin 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 ravish

c.1300, "to seize (someone) by violence, carry (a person, especially a woman) away," from Old French raviss-, present participle stem of ravir "to seize, take away hastily," from Vulgar Latin *rapire, from Latin rapere "to seize and carry off, carry away suddenly, hurry away" (see rapid). Meaning "to commit rape upon" is recorded from mid-15c. Related: Ravished; ravishing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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