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
The story of two women being raped and bludgeoned by a vagrant in the beachside enclave seemed to confirm many residents’ worst fears about growing lawlessness. Sonja Sharp, Los Angeles Times, 22 July 2024 On Tuesday night, a Maryland resident shared how his sister was raped and strangled to death by a Salvadoran in the country illegally. Bethany Blankley | The Center Square Contributor, Washington Examiner - Political News and Conservative Analysis About Congress, the President, and the Federal Government, 18 July 2024 The victim of the second assault was repeatedly raped by an assailant who used a knife to remove part of a bedroom window. Edmund H. Mahony, Hartford Courant, 18 July 2024 Among the speakers was Michael Morin, whose sister was Rachel Morin, a Maryland woman who prosecutors say was killed and raped by a fugitive from El Salvador. Democrat-Gazette Staff From Wire Reports, arkansasonline.com, 17 July 2024 The Miami New Times reports that a 54-year-old Jane Doe has accused the mogul of raping her on several occasions. Marc Griffin, VIBE.com, 16 July 2024 In a deposition dated July 21, 2017, and released in August 2018, Perry denied allegations that Luke raped her. Rania Aniftos, Billboard, 10 July 2024 In 1972, Carr picked up two 11-year-old hitchhiking friends, raped and strangled them, then buried them in Louisiana and Mississippi. Faith Karimi, CNN, 7 July 2024 Loading your audio article FREMONT — A 30-year-old man has been charged with raping an 18-year-old woman in the backseat of his car last month after allegedly plying her with alcoholic drinks, causing her to become incapacitated, according to police and court records. Harry Harris, The Mercury News, 5 July 2024
Noun
After an eight-day trial, Plumb, 37, was found guilty of soliciting murder, encouraging or assisting the commission of a kidnapping and encouraging or assisting the commission of rape, according to The Guardian and the BBC. Alyssa Goldberg, USA TODAY, 12 July 2024 Daphne Joy, legal name Daphne Joy Narvaez, has deleted a social media upload that accused 50 Cent of rape and violent behavior. Demicia Inman, VIBE.com, 11 July 2024 In 1990, Wakefield was convicted of rape by means of force, violence or fear. Lyndsay Winkley, The Mercury News, 10 July 2024 The complaint details repeated incidents of grooming, groping and forcible rape by guards. Julia Marnin, Sacramento Bee, 10 July 2024 He was also convicted of rape in Los Angeles and sentenced to 16 years in prison, but his lawyers are appealing the decision. Aron Solomon, Newsweek, 9 July 2024 Between the lines: The bill's passage comes just days after a court found 10 soldiers guilty of the rape of Indigenous women and girls between 1984 and 1985. Marina E. Franco (noticias Telemundo For Axios), Axios, 9 July 2024 Nikki assumes responsibility not only for helping Paige but for turning the episode into a fight over rape culture, first with the college authorities, and then much more widely as everything moves onto the Internet with predictably disastrous ramifications. David Benedict, Variety, 6 July 2024 Shannon's college career was cut short by serious legal issues when he was charged with rape in Kansas in September. Greg Rosenstein, NBC News, 27 June 2024

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 25 Jul. 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

More from Merriam-Webster on rape

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