be·​reave | \ bi-ˈrēv How to pronounce bereave (audio) , bē- \
bereaved or bereft\ bi-​ˈreft How to pronounce bereft (audio) , bē-​ \; bereaving

Definition of bereave

transitive verb

1 : to deprive of something usually used with ofMadam, you have bereft me of all words …— William Shakespeare
2 : to take away (a valued or necessary possession) especially by force

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Synonyms for bereave


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Examples of bereave in a Sentence

news of a death in the family bereaved them of the unmitigated joy that normally prevails at a wedding

First Known Use of bereave

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for bereave

Middle English bereven, from Old English berēafian, from be- + rēafian to rob — more at reave

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Time Traveler for bereave

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The first known use of bereave was before the 12th century

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Cite this Entry

“Bereave.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 24 January 2020.

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Comments on bereave

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


a feeling of well-being or elation

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