ransack

verb ran·sack \ ˈran-ˌsak , (ˌ)ran-ˈsak \
Updated on: 7 Dec 2017

Definition of ransack

transitive verb
1 a : to search thoroughly
b : to examine closely and carefully
2 : to search through to commit robbery : plunder

ransacker

noun

ransack was our Word of the Day on 06/22/2013. Hear the podcast!

Examples of ransack in a Sentence

  1. Robbers ransacked the apartment looking for money.

  2. The room had been ransacked.

Recent Examples of ransack from the Web

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

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 and Etymology of ransack

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

ransack Synonyms

Synonyms
despoil, loot, maraud, pillage, plunder, sack
Related Words
break in, burglarize, rip off, steal (from); comb, hunt, rake, rifle, rummage; harry, raid; ravish
Near Antonyms
hide; abandon, lose; ignore, neglect

RANSACK Defined for English Language Learners

ransack

verb

Definition of ransack for English Language Learners

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


RANSACK Defined for Kids

ransack

verb ran·sack \ ˈran-ˌsak \

Definition of ransack for Students

ransacked; ransacking
: to search through in a way that causes disorder or damage
  • Thieves ransacked the room.


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