- to search thoroughly or vigorously through (a house, receptacle, etc.): They ransacked the house for the missing letter.
- to search through for plunder; pillage: The enemy ransacked the entire town.
Origin of ransack
Examples from the Web for ransacking
Electricity has yet to be restored to downtown Tacloban and night-time shootings and ransacking have been reported in the area.Typhoon Haiyan Tacloban Leaders Calls on Rebels to Avoid Armed Violence
November 14, 2013
Samar learned it was this same commander who had ordered the bombing and ransacking of her hospital inside Afghanistan.The Woman Who Should Have Won Obama's Nobel
October 12, 2009
A great writer does not begin by ransacking for the odd and new.
While some of the soldiers were ill-treating her others were ransacking her wardrobes.Current History, A Monthly Magazine
New York Times
These are the faint sketches, which, on ransacking my brain, I find resting on its tablets.Captain Canot
His preparations consisted in ransacking his "box" for a pen.The American Claimant
Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)
Mr. Cuthbert appeared to be ransacking the corners of his brain for words.A Modern Chronicle, Complete
- to search through every part of (a house, box, etc); examine thoroughly
- to plunder; pillage
Word Origin and History for ransacking
mid-13c., from a Scandinavian source akin to Old Norse rannsaka "to pillage," literally "search the house" (especially legally, for stolen goods), from rann "house," from Proto-Germanic *rasnan (c.f. Gothic razn, Old English ærn "house;" see barn) + saka "to search," related to Old Norse soekja "seek" (see seek). Sense influenced by sack (v.). Related: Ransacked; ransacking.