bereave

[bih-reev]
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.
  3. 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
Related formsbe·reave·ment, nounbe·reav·er, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for bereaver

bereave

verb (tr)
  1. (usually foll by of) to deprive (of) something or someone valued, esp through death
  2. obsolete to remove by force
See also bereft

Word Origin for 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

Word Origin and History for bereaver

bereave

v.

Old English bereafian "to deprive of, take away, seize, rob," from be + reafian "rob, plunder," from Proto-Germanic *raubojanan, from PIE *reup- "to snatch" (see rapid). A common Germanic formation (cf. Old Frisian birava "despoil," Old Saxon biroban, Dutch berooven, Old High German biroubon, German berauben, Gothic biraubon). Since mid-17c., mostly in reference to life, hope, loved ones, and other immaterial possessions. Past tense forms bereaved and bereft have co-existed since 14c., now slightly differentiated in meaning, the former applied to loss of loved ones, the latter to circumstances.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper