Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

ransack

play
verb ran·sack \ˈran-ˌsak, (ˌ)ran-ˈ\

Simple Definition of ransack

  • : to search (a place) for something in a way that causes disorder or damage

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of ransack

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 a :  to search thoroughly b :  to examine closely and carefully

  3. 2 :  to search through to commit robbery :  plunder

ransacker noun

Examples of ransack in a sentence

  1. Robbers ransacked the apartment looking for money.

  2. The room had been ransacked.



Did You Know?

Ransack carries the image of a house being torn out of order, as might happen when you are frantically searching for something. This is appropriate given the word's origin. Ransack derives via Middle English from Old Norse "rannsaka"; the "rann" in rannsaka means "house." The second half of "rannsaka" is related to an Old English word, secan, meaning "to seek." But our modern use of the word isn't restricted to houses. You can ransack a drawer, a suitcase, or even the contents of a book (for information). A now-obsolete frequentative form of "ransack," "ransackle," gave us our adjective "ramshackle."

Origin of ransack

Middle English ransaken, from Old Norse rannsaka, from rann house + -saka (akin to Old English sēcan to seek) — more at seek


First Known Use: 13th century

Rhymes with ransack

aback, ack-ack, alack, amtrac, Anzac, arrack, attack, backpack, backtrack, Balzac, bareback, blackjack, blowback, bootblack, bootjack, brushback, bushwhack, buyback, callback, calpac, carjack, champac, cheapjack, coatrack, come back, comeback, cookshack, crackback, crookback, cut back, cutback, Dayak, dieback, Dirac, draw back, drawback, fall back, fallback, fastback, fast-track, fatback, feedback, finback, fireback, flapjack, flashback, fullback, gimcrack, giveback, graywacke, greenback, gripsack, guaiac, halfback, half-track, hardback, hardhack, hardtack, hatchback, hayrack, haystack, hijack, hogback, hold back, holdback, hopsack, horseback, humpback, hunchback, Iraq, jam-pack, jet-black, Kanak, Karnak, kayak, Kazak, kickback, knapsack, knickknack, kulak, kyack, laid-back, lampblack, leaseback, linac, macaque, man jack, manpack, Micmac, mossback, muntjac, Muzak, notchback, offtrack, one-track, outback, packsack, payback, pitch-black, play back, playback, plow back, plowback, Prozac, pullback, quillback, racetrack, rickrack, roll back, rollback, roorback, rucksack, runback, sad sack, scatback, serac, set back, setback, shellac, shellback, shoeblack, shoepac, sidetrack, six-pack, skewback, skipjack, skyjack, slapjack, slotback, Slovak, smokejack, smokestack, snap back, snapback, snowpack, softback, sumac, swayback, sweepback, swept-back, switchback, tailback, tarmac, thornback, throw back, throwback, thumbtack, ticktack, tieback, tie tack, tombac, touchback, tow sack, trictrac, tripack, unpack, wetback, whaleback, wingback, wisecrack, wolf pack, woolpack, woolsack, yashmak, zwieback


RANSACK Defined for Kids

ransack

play
verb ran·sack \ˈran-ˌsak\

Definition of ransack for Students

ransackedransacking

  1. :  to search through in a way that causes disorder or damage <Thieves ransacked the room.>





Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up ransack? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a division or portion of a pool or whole

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

image1926873504

Which of the following best describes an easily irritated person?

gregarious flashy tetchy superficial
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ