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

transitive verb

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

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

Word History


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

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near bereave

Cite this Entry

“Bereave.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Apr. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on bereave

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