• synonyms


See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
  1. a simple past tense and past participle of reave1.
  2. a simple past tense and past participle of reave2.


verb (used with object), reaved or reft, reav·ing. Archaic.
  1. to take away by or as by force; plunder; rob.

Origin of reave1

before 900; Middle English reven, Old English rēafian; cognate with German rauben, Dutch roven to rob


verb (used with or without object), reaved or reft, reav·ing.
  1. Archaic. to rend; break; tear.

Origin of reave2

1175–1225; Middle English; apparently special use of reave1 (by association with rive)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for reft

Historical Examples

  • The man was hers; and if she reft herself away from him, then she must die.

    Tiverton Tales

    Alice Brown

  • And this reft house is that the which he built, Lamented Jack!

  • The horses started aside for fear, and he was reft of life and strength.

  • And yet, I love you, and will grieve till the end that you should have been reft from me.

  • The bottom has been reft from the fishes and converted into fertile soil.

    Naples Past and Present

    Arthur H. Norway

British Dictionary definitions for reft


  1. a past tense and past participle of reave 1


verb reaves, reaving, reaved or reft (rɛft) archaic
  1. to carry off (property, prisoners, etc) by force
  2. (tr foll by of) to deprive; stripSee also reive

Word Origin

Old English reāfian; related to Old High German roubōn to rob, Old Norse raufa to break open


verb reaves, reaving, reaved or reft (rɛft)
  1. archaic to break or tear (something) apart; cleave

Word Origin

C13 reven, probably from reave 1 and influenced in meaning by rive
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

Word Origin and History for reft

past participle of reave.



Old English reafian "to rob (something from someone), plunder, pillage," from Proto-Germanic *raubjon (cf. Old Frisian ravia, Middle Dutch roven, Dutch rooven, Old High German roubon, German rauben), from PIE *reup- "to snatch" (see rip (v.)). Related: Reaved; reaving.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper