- to deprive and make desolate, especially by death (usually followed by of): Illness bereaved them of their mother.
- to deprive ruthlessly or by force (usually followed by of): The war bereaved them of their home.
- Obsolete. to take away by violence.
Origin of bereave
Examples from the Web for bereaving
Historical Examples of bereaving
Would I have taken pleasure in bereaving thee of aught that was not hurtful?Clare Avery
Emily Sarah Holt
In bereaving me of my love, she must be content to take my existence also.Jane Talbot
Charles Brockden Brown
But she would not have cared for these things; while bereaving himself, he would have enriched her not at all.Aurora the Magnificent
But the bereaving day renders a boy destitute of his contemporaries; he is ever dejected, and his cheeks are bedewed with tears.
- (usually foll by of) to deprive (of) something or someone valued, esp through death
- obsolete to remove by force
Word Origin for bereave
Word Origin and History for bereaving
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.