rape

noun (1)
\ ˈrāp How to pronounce rape (audio) \

Definition of rape

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1 : unlawful sexual activity and usually sexual intercourse carried out forcibly or under threat of injury against a person's will or with a person who is beneath a certain age or incapable of valid consent because of mental illness, mental deficiency, intoxication, unconsciousness, or deception — compare sexual assault, statutory rape
2 : an outrageous violation
3 : an act or instance of robbing or despoiling or carrying away a person by force

rape

verb
raped; raping

Definition of rape (Entry 2 of 4)

transitive verb

1 : to commit rape on
2a : despoil
b archaic : to seize and take away by force

rape

noun (2)

Definition of rape (Entry 3 of 4)

: an Old World herb (Brassica napus) of the mustard family grown as a forage crop and for its seeds which yield rapeseed oil and are a bird food — compare canola

rape

noun (3)

Definition of rape (Entry 4 of 4)

: the pomace of grapes left after expression of the juice

Keep scrolling for more

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from rape

Verb

raper noun

Synonyms for rape

Synonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of rape in a Sentence

Verb He is accused of raping the girl. She was raped by a fellow student.

Keep scrolling for more

First Known Use of rape

Noun (1)

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2b

Noun (2)

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Noun (3)

1657, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for rape

Noun (1)

Middle English, "violent seizure, abduction of a woman with the intent of sexually assaulting her," borrowed from Anglo-French rap, rape, probably borrowed from Medieval Latin rapum, noun derivative of rapiō, rapere "to seize and carry off, abduct a woman with the intent of sexually assaulting her" — more at rape entry 2

Note: Use of this word in its most predominant modern meaning is attested early in legal Anglo-French and British Medieval Latin, though the precise derivational pathways are uncertain. The Latin word may have been based on the Anglo-French word, but both must ultimately be dependent on the classical Latin verb. Note that rapum exists alongside classical Latin raptus, the regularly derived u-stem verbal noun, used in British Medieval Latin in the sense "rape." Compare ravish.

Verb

Middle English rapen "to abduct a woman with the intent of sexually assaulting her," borrowed from Anglo-French raper, borrowed from Medieval Latin rapiō, rapere "to seize and carry off, abduct a woman with of the intent of sexually assaulting her," going back to Latin, "to seize and carry off, take away by force, carry off a woman with the intent of sexually assaulting her, carry or sweep along, impel forcibly (to a course of conduct), snatch up, gather quickly" — more at rapid entry 1

Note: The verb rapen in its predominant modern sense is rare in Middle English, the more common verb meaning "to rape" being ravisshen "to ravish." The Middle English Dictionary lists rapen with a meaning "to carry off, transport (the soul to heaven)," but all forms cited are for a past participle rapt, rapte, which appears to have been borrowed directly from Medieval Latin raptus, past participle of rapere in this sense (see rapt). See also the note at rape entry 1.

Noun (2)

Middle English, "turnip, Brassica napus," borrowed from Latin rāpa, rāpum "turnip"; akin to Germanic *rōbjōn- "turnip" (whence Middle Dutch & Middle Low German rove, Old High German ruoba, ruoppa), Lithuanian rópė, Greek rháphys, rhápys (all going back to an earlier *rāp(h)-), Church Slavic (eastern) rěpa, Polish rzepa (going back to *rēp-), Welsh erfin "turnips, rape," Breton irvin (going back to *arb-īno-, perhaps metathesized from *rab-), all from a substratal pre-Indo-European word of uncertain form

Note: The Greek forms with fluctuating aspiration, as well as the derivative rháphanos "any of various cultivars of Brassica oleracea, radish," with the suffix -anos, argue for membership in the same pre-Greek substratum as a number of other Greek words; whether the other European forms are borrowed from this etymon or are part of a more general substratum is unclear (see Robert Beekes, Etymological Dictionary of Greek, Brill, 2010, p. 1277). Not related to Old Norse rófa "tail" (see Guus Kroonen, Etymological Dictionary of Proto-Germanic, Brill, 2013, p. 415).

Noun (3)

French râpe grape stalk

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About rape

Time Traveler for rape

Time Traveler

The first known use of rape was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near rape

Rapateaceae

rape

rape butterfly

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for rape

Cite this Entry

“Rape.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rape. Accessed 23 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for rape

rape

noun
\ ˈrāp How to pronounce rape (audio) \

Kids Definition of rape

: a plant related to the mustard that is grown for animals to graze on, for its seeds which are fed to birds, and as a source of oil

rape

noun
\ ˈrāp How to pronounce rape (audio) \

Medical Definition of rape

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: a European herb (Brassica napus) of the mustard family grown as a forage crop and for its seeds which yield rapeseed oil and are a bird food — see canola sense 1

rape

transitive verb
raped; raping

Medical Definition of rape (Entry 2 of 3)

: to commit rape on

rape

noun

Medical Definition of rape (Entry 3 of 3)

: unlawful sexual activity and usually sexual intercourse carried out forcibly or under threat of injury against the will usually of a female or with a person who is beneath a certain age or incapable of valid consent — compare sexual assault, statutory rape

rape

transitive verb
raped; raping

Legal Definition of rape

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to commit rape on

Other Words from rape

raper noun
rapist noun

rape

noun

Legal Definition of rape (Entry 2 of 2)

: unlawful sexual activity and usually sexual intercourse carried out forcibly or under threat of injury against the will usually of a female or with a person who is beneath a certain age or incapable of valid consent because of mental illness, mental deficiency, intoxication, unconsciousness, or deception — see also statutory rape

Note: The common-law crime of rape involved a man having carnal knowledge of a woman not his wife through force and against her will, and required at least slight penetration of the penis into the vagina. While some states maintain essentially this definition of rape, most have broadened its scope especially in terms of the sex of the persons and the nature of the acts involved. Marital status is usually irrelevant. Moreover, the crime is codified under various names, including first degree sexual assault sexual battery unlawful sexual intercourse, and first degree sexual abuse.

History and Etymology for rape

Transitive verb

Latin rapere to seize and take away by force

More from Merriam-Webster on rape

Nglish: Translation of rape for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of rape for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about rape

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Which Word Does Not Belong?

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!