be·​reaved | \ bi-ˈrēvd How to pronounce bereaved (audio) , bē-\

Definition of bereaved

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: suffering the death of a loved one bereaved families of the victims


plural bereaved

Definition of bereaved (Entry 2 of 2)

: someone who is suffering the death of a loved one : one who is bereaved comfort the bereaved

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Synonyms for bereaved

Synonyms: Adjective


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Examples of bereaved in a Sentence


the bereaved parents of the victims the grief of the bereaved parents seemed to be without limit

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

My thoughts are with the bereaved families and prayers with the injured. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "Over 200 Dead in Sri Lanka Bombings," 21 Apr. 2019 Soon after the death of her sister Phyllis, the wife of a senior official in India, Lawrence agreed to marry her bereaved brother-in-law. David Gilmour, WSJ, "Five Best: David Gilmour on Memoirs of British India," 22 Feb. 2019 His 2009 film Antichrist starred Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg as a bereaved couple coping with their grief through, among other things, graphic genital mutilation. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "Critics called Lars von Trier’s new movie “repulsive.” It’s being released twice.," 6 Dec. 2018 Studies have shown that bereaved people can experience grief hallucinations, and there are concerns that interacting with avatars might raise the risk. David Cox /, NBC News, "Will 'digital resurrections' let us bring back the dead?," 16 Apr. 2018 Michael’s death, caused by an undiagnosed complication from a gunshot wound, left Jane a bereaved widow. Maria Tallarico, Glamour, "9 Jane the Virgin Fan Theories That Will Keep You Up at Night," 11 Jan. 2019 Lawyer Gareth Patterson, who represents three of the bereaved families, said images from the scene showed the attacker was deliberately targeting walkers on the bridge. Samuel Chamberlain, Fox News, "American killed in Westminster Bridge terror attack died while saving his wife, inquest hears," 12 Sep. 2018 The aftermath has been difficult for many — for the survivors, the bereaved, the neighborhood residents — who call the ethnically-diverse area of North Kensington home. Karla Adam, Washington Post, "Remembering Grenfell, iconic landmarks glow green as Queen and Meghan join tributes," 14 June 2018 However, German voters have dark memories of an air strike in Afghanistan in 2009, called in by their forces but executed by the Americans, in which civilians perished and their government had to compensate the bereaved. The Economist, "Germany becomes the last big Western power to buy killer robots," 23 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

But while the commemorations were cathartic, Chellat said, government support for the bereaved has been lacking: Some didn’t know how to find help. Karla Adam, Washington Post, "‘Trapped like a cat in a cage’: London’s Grenfell Tower survivors look back on the deadliest fire in modern British history," 13 June 2018 Survivors and the bereaved observed the silence at the foot Grenfell Tower, where a new mosaic was unveiled. Karla Adam, Washington Post, "Remembering Grenfell, iconic landmarks glow green as Queen and Meghan join tributes," 14 June 2018 Survivors and the bereaved observed the silence at the foot of Grenfell Tower, where a new mosaic was unveiled. Karla Adam,, "Remembering the Grenfell fire, iconic landmarks glow green," 14 June 2018 Veterans like the Phillipses serve as guides in the immediate aftermath, introducing the bereaved of Sandy Hook to those of San Bernardino and the parents of Virginia Tech to those of Roseburg, in a loose but growing network. Vivian Yee, New York Times, "For Parents of Shooting Victims, a Support Network That Keeps Growing," 18 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bereaved.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of bereaved


1702, in the meaning defined above


1798, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for bereaved


see bereave


see bereave

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Learn More about bereaved

Dictionary Entries near bereaved






be reborn


Statistics for bereaved

Last Updated

28 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for bereaved

The first known use of bereaved was in 1702

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More Definitions for bereaved



English Language Learners Definition of bereaved

formal : sad because a family member or friend has recently died


be·​reaved | \ bi-ˈrēvd How to pronounce bereaved (audio) \

Kids Definition of bereaved

: grieving over the death of a loved one a bereaved widow

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More from Merriam-Webster on bereaved

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with bereaved

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for bereaved

Spanish Central: Translation of bereaved

Nglish: Translation of bereaved for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of bereaved for Arabic Speakers

Comments on bereaved

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


a strong desire or propensity

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