rav·age | \ˈra-vij \

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 \ 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

Last year’s 37th annual Rice Harvest Festival was Oct. 14-15 in downtown Katy despite the ravages of Hurricane Harvey a few months earlier. Karen Zurawski, Houston Chronicle, "City steps forward to organize Katy festival after chamber bows out," 15 June 2018 Their theme in one way or another was the ravages of age and mortality itself, and in publishing them Mr. Roth seemed to be defiantly staving off his own decline. Charles Mcgrath, BostonGlobe.com, "Philip Roth, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, dies at 85," 23 May 2018 But these discoveries, some 400 feet underwater in near freezing inky blackness, are now being threatened by an invasive species potentially more destructive than the ravages of time. CBS News, "Divers race to find Great Lakes shipwrecks threatened by invasive species," 10 July 2018 His topics included baseball and grandfatherhood, poetry and gardening, the ravages of age, and the delights of summer. Danny Heitman, The Christian Science Monitor, "Donald Hall: poet, farmer, indefatigable observer of life," 26 June 2018 But here, the grandmother, losing sight of the present but often glimpsing her past, is always vital despite the ravages of time. Bob Blaisdell, The Christian Science Monitor, "'A Terrible Country' follows an ex-pat who returns to experience life in Russia," 11 July 2018 By 2005, news of meth’s ravages were on display in the national media. Joshua Sharpe, ajc, "Meth, ‘the Devil’s drug,’ is back and killing more people than ever," 4 July 2018 When the Spanish Civil War began, in 1936, fascism was on the march across Europe, as a new breed of strongman leader emerged from the horrors and economic ravages of the First World War and the Great Depression. Matías Costa, Smithsonian, "The Battle Over the Memory of the Spanish Civil War," 28 June 2018 Wolfe didn't forget O'Neill's tacit observation that no one yet has definitively determined alcohol to be a palliative any less valid than any other against the usual ravages of life. Chris Jones, chicagotribune.com, "In 'The Iceman Cometh' on Broadway, Denzel Washington is mesmerizing, stunning — he's the bottom of the bottle," 27 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The choral synagogue was ravaged on Kristallnacht, and the Jewish community deported in 1942. Dovid Margolin, Jewish Journal, "They came for the World Cup and stayed for Shabbat," 28 June 2018 The main ruptured about 2 miles away from downtown Ellicott City, where the historic main street was ravaged by floodwaters for the second time in less than two years. CBS News, "Maryland officials issue health alert after sewage main breaks in Ellicott City," 29 May 2018 Then, on a winter night in 1944, while Edyka was huddled in a barn with other Jews, Polish militia working with the Nazis burst through the door and ravaged them with machine-gun fire. Eric Adler, kansascity, "Mother pushed daughter off train to save her from Nazis. This song tells their story | The Kansas City Star," 10 May 2018 Hurricane Irma blows down palm trees in Caibairién, Cuba, as the Category 5 storm ravaged much of Caribbean in early September of 2017. Patrick Oppmann, CNN, "Cuba's likely new leader, Miguel Diaz-Canel, faces economic and diplomatic challenges," 18 Apr. 2018 The next tosses fell upon the buildings inside the castle ward and ravaged them into heaps of wreckage and burning debris. William Gurstelle, Popular Mechanics, "The Legend of Ludgar the War Wolf, King of the Trebuchets," 1 May 2017 The fighting spirit is engrained in a group of players whose psyche was forged growing up in a country ravaged by war as the former Yugoslavia broke up in the 1990s. Rob Harris, chicagotribune.com, "Three reasons why Croatia will win the World Cup final," 14 July 2018 Created by Congress in 1990, the program is intended to allow people from countries ravaged by war, famine and natural disasters to remain in the U.S. as their countries recover. Alan Gomez, USA TODAY, "All the ways President Trump is cutting legal immigration," 12 June 2018 Matt Smith stars as the controversial photographer who revolutionized the contemporary art world during the decade ravaged by AIDS. Loren King, BostonGlobe.com, "The films are still the thing in Provincetown," 7 June 2018

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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Phrases Related to ravage

the ravages of

Statistics for ravage

Last Updated

4 Oct 2018

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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

: to damage or harm (something) very badly


rav·age | \ˈra-vij \

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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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).


one that holds something together

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