[ bih-reev ]
See synonyms for: bereavebereavedbereftbereavement on

verb (used with object),be·reaved or be·reft, be·reav·ing.
  1. to deprive and make desolate, especially by death (usually followed by of): Illness bereaved them of their mother.

  2. to deprive ruthlessly or by force (usually followed by of): The war bereaved them of their home.

  1. Obsolete. to take away by violence.

Origin of bereave

before 900; Middle English bereven,Old English berēafian; cognate with Dutch berooven,German berauben,Gothic biraubōn.See be-, reave1

Other words from bereave

  • be·reave·ment, noun
  • be·reav·er, noun

Words Nearby bereave Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use bereave in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for bereave


/ (bɪˈriːv) /

  1. (usually foll by of) to deprive (of) something or someone valued, esp through death

  2. obsolete to remove by force

Origin of bereave

Old English bereafian; see reave 1

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