rape

1 of 4

noun (1)

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

2 of 4

verb

raped; raping

transitive verb

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

rape

3 of 4

noun (2)

: 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

4 of 4

noun (3)

: the pomace of grapes left after expression of the juice

Examples of rape in a Sentence

Noun (1) an international law defining rape as a war crime the legend of the rape of the Sabine women by the ancient Romans was frequently depicted in classical art Verb He is accused of raping the girl. She was raped by a fellow student.
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
On their way out of the apartment building, Cousins raped the young girl again. Devoun Cetoute, Miami Herald, 22 May 2024 Daphne rapes him and forces him to finish inside her. Kari Sonde, TIME, 21 May 2024 He’s depicted raping Ivana, abusing amphetamines in order to lose weight (then getting tummy tug with a hair implants chaser), and cutting deals with underworld figures so Trump Tower can move forward as planned. Matt Donnelly, Variety, 20 May 2024 The woman, who had accused Portnow of drugging and raping her in a New York hotel room in 2018, filed her federal lawsuit in November. Jazz Monroe, Pitchfork, 8 May 2024 Spacey’s father was a Holocaust denier who allegedly abused and raped his brother Randy Fowler first told the Daily Mail about his and Spacey’s father in 2017, but the story did not receive widespread attention. Valentina Valentini, Los Angeles Times, 7 May 2024 Now, over two years later — and eight months after he was released from prison — the same man has been accused of raping a woman. Alex Brizee, Idaho Statesman, 9 May 2024 Later that day a customer verbally threatened to rape one of his employees. David Hudnall, Kansas City Star, 8 May 2024 Nearly a year ago, two 13-year-old girls were walking down a central California street when they were forced into a car and taken to an Airbnb, where they were raped for days, according to court documents recently filed in federal court. Julia Marnin, Sacramento Bee, 7 May 2024
Noun
Mukwege and his staff at Panzi hospital in Bukavu have treated more than 80,000 women and girls, provided mental health support and helped break the stigma around survivors of rape. Fatma Tanis, NPR, 10 May 2024 Since the war began last year, rape has been used as a weapon of war by both the army and the RSF, according the U.N. Violet Ikong, The Christian Science Monitor, 9 May 2024 Last year, the country raised the age of consent from 13 to 16, and in 2017 men were allowed to report allegations of rape. Addie Morfoot, Variety, 9 May 2024 Furthermore, Lamar tapped Kodak Black, who pleaded guilty to first-degree assault and battery in 2021 after initially being charged with rape, to co-star on Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers. C. Isaiah Smalls Ii, Miami Herald, 9 May 2024 So is Manuel Bracamontes, convicted of the 1991 kidnap, rape and murder of 9-year-old Laura Arroyo in San Ysidro. Teri Figueroa, San Diego Union-Tribune, 4 May 2024 Weinstein remains behind bars because he was convicted of rape in Los Angeles in 2022, and sentenced to 16 years. Alice Gainer, CBS News, 1 May 2024 Harvey Weinstein's 2020 rape conviction was overturned Thursday by the New York Court of Appeals and many are wondering what happens next. Chloe Melas, NBC News, 26 Apr. 2024 The lawsuit claimed that Dugan was fired by the Recording Academy for refusing to bring Portnow back as a consultant after she was told about the alleged rape. Winston Cho, The Hollywood Reporter, 3 Sep. 2019

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'rape.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near rape

Cite this Entry

“Rape.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rape. Accessed 27 May. 2024.

Kids Definition

rape

1 of 3 noun
: an herb related to the mustards that is grown for animals to graze on and for its seeds which are used as birdseed and as a source of oil

compare canola

rape

2 of 3 verb
raped; raping
1
archaic : to take away by force
2
: to have sexual relations with by force
raper noun
rapist noun

rape

3 of 3 noun
: an act or instance of raping
Etymology

Noun

Middle English rape "the herb rape," from Latin rapa, rapum "turnip, rape"

Verb

Middle English rapen "to take away by force," from Latin rapere "to seize"

Medical Definition

rape

1 of 3 noun
: 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

2 of 3 transitive verb
raped; raping
: to commit rape on

rape

3 of 3 noun
: 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

Legal Definition

rape

1 of 2 transitive verb
raped; raping
: to commit rape on
raper noun
rapist noun

rape

2 of 2 noun
: 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.

Etymology

Transitive verb

Latin rapere to seize and take away by force

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