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

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 The orcas’ cognitive sophistication and social abilities haven’t preserved them from the ravages of environmental change. Alison Gopnik, WSJ, "Like Us, Whales May Be Smart Because They’re Social," 16 Aug. 2018 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The first episode of HBO's eight-part adaptation of this book, My Brilliant Friend, is faithful to this framing device, placing Lenù and her closest friend Lila in a community ravaged by grotesque, often unexpected displays of savagery. Julie Kosin, Harper's BAZAAR, "My Brilliant Friend Producer Breaks Down the Violence of Episode 1," 19 Nov. 2018 Ideally the Mayo Clinic, which maintains a bank of brains ravaged by neurodegenerative diseases down in Jacksonville, Florida. Jacqueline Detwiler, Popular Mechanics, "The Heroes of Science Who Are Unlocking the Brain," 3 Oct. 2018 Readers rave about help during wildfires, rant about noisy people at the airport RAVE To all the brave and caring people who are helping to save the animals in California’s ravaging wildfires. Seattle Times Readers, The Seattle Times, "Rant & Rave: Thanks to everyone helping during wildfires," 21 Nov. 2018 Many died of European diseases, which ravaged unexposed New World populations. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Supposedly pristine South American forest had been pre-Columbian farmland," 17 July 2018 Orlando hit the century mark nine times since the early 1950s, with five of those in 1998, when wildfires ravaged the state. Kevin Spear, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Orlando could sizzle this week with hottest weather of the year," 11 July 2018 For years now, the extent of the heroin and prescription opioid painkiller addiction scourge ravaging the United States has become increasingly clear. Sy Mukherjee, Fortune, "Brainstorm Health: Pain Patients and Opioids, Gene Editing Cholesterol, Doctor Burnout," 10 July 2018 The speed at which global warming is ravaging these vital marine ecosystems leaves scientists struggling with the question of how intensely to intervene. Evan Halper, latimes.com, "Racing to save Florida’s coral from climate change, scientists turn to a once-unthinkable strategy: ‘assisted evolution’," 9 July 2018 This new blaze, which started Sunday evening, is burning right next to where the Pawnee Fire ravaged more than 15,000 acres and destroyed 22 structures over about a two-week period. Cassie Dickman, sacbee, "New fire sparks in Lake County, likely to burn into Pawnee Fire area," 9 July 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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Statistics for ravage

Last Updated

13 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

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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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

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having a pattern of small flowers

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