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ravage

[rav-ij]
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verb (used with object), rav·aged, rav·ag·ing.
  1. to work havoc upon; damage or mar by ravages: a face ravaged by grief.
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verb (used without object), rav·aged, rav·ag·ing.
  1. to work havoc; do ruinous damage.
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noun
  1. havoc; ruinous damage: the ravages of war.
  2. devastating or destructive action.
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Origin of ravage

1605–15; < French, Middle French, equivalent to rav(ir) to ravish + -age -age
Related formsrav·age·ment, nounrav·ag·er, nounun·rav·aged, adjective
Can be confusedravage ravishravenous ravaging ravishing (see synonym study at ravenous)

Synonyms for ravage

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Synonym study

1. Ravage, devastate, lay waste all refer, in their literal application, to the wholesale destruction of a countryside by an invading army (or something comparable). Lay waste has remained the closest to the original meaning of destruction of land: The invading army laid waste the towns along the coast. But ravage and devastate are used in reference to other types of violent destruction and may also have a purely figurative application. Ravage is often used of the results of epidemics: The Black Plague ravaged 14th-century Europe; and even of the effect of disease or suffering on the human countenance: a face ravaged by despair. Devastate, in addition to its concrete meaning ( vast areas devastated by bombs ), may be used figuratively: a devastating remark.

Antonyms for ravage

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for ravager

criminal, marauder, bandit, looter, robber, raider, mobster, outlaw, hooligan, gangster, pirate, plunderer, pilferer, pillager, spoiler, thief, corsair, buccaneer, freebooter, hijacker

Examples from the Web for ravager

Historical Examples of ravager

  • All the crops, as far as it extended its flight, fell before this ravager.

    An Introduction to Entomology: Vol. I (of 4)

    William Kirby

  • What a good thing it was he had not killed the ravager of his home!

  • This checked the hounds for a moment, but Ravager cast forward, and presently they came on faster than ever.

    Lives of the Fur Folk

    M. D. Haviland

  • He looked back at the pack working out his line in the fields below him, and saw that Ravager was at their head.

    Lives of the Fur Folk

    M. D. Haviland

  • We speak with dread of the beasts of prey: what beast of prey is so dire a ravager as man,—so cruel and so treacherous?

    A Strange Story, Complete

    Edward Bulwer-Lytton


British Dictionary definitions for ravager

ravage

verb
  1. to cause extensive damage to
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noun
  1. (often plural) destructive actionthe ravages of time
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Derived Formsravagement, nounravager, noun

Word Origin for ravage

C17: from French, from Old French ravir to snatch away, ravish
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 ravager

ravage

v.

1610s, from French ravager "lay waste, devastate," from Old French ravage "destruction," especially by flood (14c.), from ravir "to take away hastily" (see ravish). Related: Ravaged; ravaging.

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ravage

n.

1610s, from French ravage "destruction" (see ravage (v.)). Related: Ravages.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper