rav·​age | \ ˈra-vij How to pronounce ravage (audio) \

Definition of ravage

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an act or practice of ravaging
2 : damage resulting from ravaging : violently destructive effect the ravages of time


ravaged; ravaging

Definition of ravage (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to wreak havoc on : affect destructively a land ravaged by war

intransitive verb

: to commit destructive actions

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Other Words from ravage


ravagement \ ˈra-​vij-​mənt How to pronounce ravagement (audio) \ noun
ravager noun

Synonyms for ravage

Synonyms: Verb

destroy, devastate, ruin, scourge

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Choose the Right Synonym for ravage


ravage, devastate, waste, sack, pillage, despoil mean to lay waste by plundering or destroying. ravage implies violent often cumulative depredation and destruction. a hurricane ravaged the coast devastate implies the complete ruin and desolation of a wide area. an earthquake devastated the city waste may imply producing the same result by a slow process rather than sudden and violent action. years of drought had wasted the area sack implies carrying off all valuable possessions from a place. barbarians sacked ancient Rome pillage implies ruthless plundering at will but without the completeness suggested by sack. settlements pillaged by Vikings despoil applies to looting or robbing without suggesting accompanying destruction. the Nazis despoiled the art museums

Examples of ravage in a Sentence


Hurricane Andrew ravaged Louisiana and Florida in 1992, causing $19 billion in damage.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Pelicans swoop and sailboats tack in the bay below, but the brilliant blue of the San Francisco afternoon is something of a guilty pleasure considering that on the other edge of America, Hurricane Florence is exacting its final ravages. Rob Haskell, Vogue, "Billionaire Democrat Tom Steyer on Impeaching Trump, Getting Out the Vote, and Winning in 2020," 14 Nov. 2018 But after the building of the Brooklyn Bridge, and the inevitable ravages of time, Weeksville gradually disappeared, existing only in books and yellowing newspapers. Lynn Yaeger, Vogue, "The Pyer Moss Show Will Be Held in Weeksville, One of America’s First Free Black Communities," 7 Sep. 2018 Tange’s jewel, with a soaring roofline that still defines modern architecture, symbolized Japan’s revival just 19 years after the ravages of World War II. Stephen Wade, The Seattle Times, "Tokyo’s 1964 Olympics echo through the city’s 2020 games," 22 July 2018 Understanding which species might grow and feed on different areas of a painting can help museums preserve artwork against the ravages of time and microbiology. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "What’s eating this 400-year-old painting? A whole ecosystem of microbes," 11 Dec. 2018 Young activists, who will be forced to live with the ravages of climate change, find this upsetting. David Roberts, Vox, "The Green New Deal, explained," 21 Dec. 2018 While rain in recent weeks has been welcome, much more is needed to repair the economic and environmental ravages of the extended dry spell. Kirsty Wigglesworth, The Seattle Times, "Harry and Meghan bring rain to drought-stricken Outback town," 17 Oct. 2018 There is one thing that protects against the potential ravages of a sedentary lifestyle: exercise. Julia Belluz, Vox, "Americans sit too much. Standing desks aren’t going to fix the problem.," 20 Nov. 2018 Apparently, Lenny Kravitz is immune to the ravages of time. Calin Van Paris, Vogue, "Lenny Kravitz Just Proved Why 50 is the New 20 at This Year’s American Music Awards," 10 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

In no place is that clearer than Nebraska and Iowa, which were ravaged by floods and have some of the nation’s lowest unemployment rates. Grant Schulte, The Denver Post, "Strong job market hampers FEMA hiring in flood-hit states," 9 June 2019 Boxwoods aren’t the only plants ravaged by the cold. Suzanne Baker, Naperville Sun, "Polar vortex blamed for browning boxwoods and other trees, shrubs," 9 June 2019 The pink bollworm moth has been eradicated after ravaging U.S. cotton crops for more than a century. Jennifer Smith, WSJ, "Today’s Logistics Report: Trucking’s Pricing Push; Shipping Heads Onshore; Fast-Tracking Union Pacific," 26 Oct. 2018 How the opioid epidemic has ravaged rural, mostly white areas has captured national attention. Eugene Scott, Washington Post, "Shifting views on marijuana highlight just how differently people of color are impacted by drug laws," 20 Apr. 2018 Trump promised many times to end the opioid crisis that’s ravaging Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and other Rust Belt states. Ella Nilsen, Vox, "It’s official: Democrat Conor Lamb wins Pennsylvania special election in major upset," 22 Mar. 2018 But many aspects of today’s climate echo that of the 1980s: The global economy is expanding, new technology is entering the workplace at every turn, and an opioid epidemic is ravaging communities. Lolade Fadulu, The Atlantic, "Why Is the U.S. So Bad at Worker Retraining?," 4 Jan. 2018 Sweating sickness was confined almost exclusively to England during its outbreaks, ravaging the wealthy more often than the poor. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, "The Cause of Prince Arthur Tudor's Death Remains a Medical Mystery," 13 May 2019 The 2008 financial crisis ravaged luxury-goods companies making everything from $3,000 shoes to multimillion-dollar cars. Eric Sylvers, WSJ, "Inside the More-Is-More World of Selling Luxury Yachts," 10 May 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ravage.' 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 ravage


circa 1611, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1602, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for ravage


French, from Middle French, from ravir to ravish — more at ravish

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Time Traveler for ravage

The first known use of ravage was in 1602

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More Definitions for ravage



English Language Learners Definition of ravage

formal : to damage or harm (something) very badly


rav·​age | \ ˈra-vij How to pronounce ravage (audio) \

Kids Definition of ravage

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: destructive action or effect the ravages of disease


ravaged; ravaging

Kids Definition of ravage (Entry 2 of 2)

: to attack or act upon with great violence The forest was ravaged by fire.

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More from Merriam-Webster on ravage

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ravage

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ravage

Spanish Central: Translation of ravage

Nglish: Translation of ravage for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ravage for Arabic Speakers

Comments on ravage

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


to move with exaggerated bouncy motions

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