[ bih-reev-muhnt ]
/ bɪˈriv mənt /
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Definition of bereavement

a period of mourning after a loss, especially after the death of a loved one: The widow had many visitors during her bereavement.
a state of intense grief, as after the loss of a loved one; desolation: Not all therapists are equipped to treat clients suffering with such debilitating bereavement.
deprivation or loss by force (usually followed by of): The bereavement of our community began with the closing of the mill.
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Origin of bereavement

First recorded in 1725–1735; bereave + -ment
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does bereavement mean?

Bereavement is a period of mourning or or state of intense grief, especially following the death of a loved one.

Bereavement is often a process that includes going through several stages of grief. Bereavement can also be used more generally to mean the state of having lost something very dear.

Example: While on bereavement leave from work, Jenn coped with her loss by spending time in nature and talking to a therapist.

Where does bereavement come from?

Bereavement is first recorded in English around the 1730s. It is based on the much older word bereave, meaning “to take away or deprive, especially by death” (it has two past tense and adjective forms: bereaved and bereft). The suffix -ment, which indicates a state, is used to turn it into a noun. Bereave is related to the word reave, which means “to rob.” The word grieve sounds similar but is based on a different root, the Latin word gravāre, meaning “to burden.”

Bereavement is often thought of as the state of having been robbed of a loved one who has been taken away by death. That robbery leaves the heavy burden of grief. There are many different rituals associated with bereavement around the world. Many include a specific amount of time set aside for mourning. Relatedly, the word is sometimes used in the phrase bereavement leave, which is time off from work after a close relative dies. Of course, the intense sadness felt after the loss of a family member or friend doesn’t just expire after a certain amount of time. And it can often be more than just an emotion. Going through bereavement can result in a variety of psychological and even physical symptoms, such as weight loss and insomnia.

A person going through bereavement is often referred to as the bereaved. If this is you, we hope you find peace.

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What are some other forms of bereavement?

What are some synonyms for bereavement?

What are some words that share a root or word element with bereavement


What are some words that often get used in discussing bereavement?

How is bereavement used in real life?

Bereavement can be used generally to describe a state of loss, but it is most commonly applied to a period of mourning for a loved one.



Try using bereavement!

Is bereavement used correctly in the following sentence?

Part of the bereavement process can include changes such as decreased appetite.

How to use bereavement in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for bereavement

/ (bɪˈriːvmənt) /

the condition of having been deprived of something or someone valued, esp through death
a death
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