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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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

The idea for a national day to focus on the environment came to Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson, then a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, after witnessing the ravages of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. Deb Kiner | Dkiner@pennlive.com, oregonlive, "Earth Day will be 50 years old in 2020," 22 Apr. 2019 His massive wall hangings are inspired by Zimbabwean textiles but his materials are drawn from the ravages of modern waste. Los Angeles Times, "Datebook: Stark domestic scenes by German painter Lenz Geerk," 13 Sep. 2019 The economy has not recovered, arguably due in significant part to the ravages of state capture and other state failures in the Zuma era. Seán Mfundza Muller, Quartz Africa, "South Africa’s economy is in a perilous state and is running out of time to get fixed," 7 Aug. 2019 The deaths tend to be more widely dispersed and do not involve the devastation of property as do the ravages of wind and water. The Economist, "Heatwaves are killing people," 27 July 2019 The tragedy was shocking even in Venezuela, a nation accustomed to the ravages of a collapsing state, hunger, hyperinflation and rampant crime. New York Times, "She Was Duped and Shipped to a Brothel at 16. Then the Boat Sank.," 10 July 2019 Heartbroken and frustrated by the ravages caused by both the disease and powerful chemotherapy drugs, Cottrell began his search for alternative treatments. Stacey Mckenna, azcentral, "Everyday faces of cannabis: It’s time to move past the “stoner” stereotype," 26 June 2019 The gilets jaunes are a rejoinder to capitalism’s emotional ravages as much as to its economic ones. Lauren Collins, The New Yorker, "Can Emmanuel Macron Stem the Populist Tide?," 24 June 2019 Suarez is the rare Republican who passionately argues for climate mitigation plans and helped champion the $400 million Miami Forever bond, approved by voters to fund action to protect the city from the ravages of higher seas and stronger storms. Bill Weir, CNN, "Miami's Little Haiti wasn't a target for developers. Until the seas started to rise.," 11 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

But in the case of Hengfeng, ravaged by corruption scandals and bailed out last month by the government, the sight of its employees examining their misdeeds was, in a way, reassuring. The Economist, "After three Chinese banks are bailed out, how many more are at risk?," 5 Sep. 2019 Trump went golfing twice at his private club in Sterling, Va., and fired off more than 100 tweets as Dorian ravaged the Bahamas and shifted course. Eli Stokols, Los Angeles Times, "Trump’s schedule shows a president with plenty of downtime this summer," 4 Sep. 2019 As Hurricane Dorian ravaged the Bahamas and headed toward Florida’s coast, residents of Conway Circle prepared to stay with family or head to hotels. Austin Fuller, orlandosentinel.com, "As Hurricane Dorian approaches, manufactured home residents must decide to stay or go," 2 Sep. 2019 AP Next month, Puerto Rico will commemorate the second anniversary of its devastating encounter with Hurricane Maria, which resulted in about 3,000 deaths, ravaged the island’s infrastructure and left an estimated $100 billion in damages. Jorge L. Ortiz, USA TODAY, "Puerto Rico had three governors in a week. Now what?," 16 Aug. 2019 Hatred warps the mind, ravages the heart and devours the soul. Tessa Berenson, Time, "President Trump Calls for Crackdown on Violent Video Games, Mental Health Reforms After Shootings," 5 Aug. 2019 Last year injuries to linebacker Deion Jones (foot) and safeties Keanu Neal (knee) and Ricardo Allen (Achilles) ravaged the middle of this D and exposed the Falcons’ long-inconsistent four-man rush. Andy Benoit, SI.com, "Atlanta's Offense Is Ready to Rock, But Will the Defense Be Able To Do Its Part?," 31 July 2019 These Oklahoma cowboys weren’t about to sit back and watch unprecedented flooding ravage their beloved state, and threaten the livestock and livelihoods of their peers. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, "WATCH: Oklahoma Cowboys Join Forces to Rescue Livestock from Historic Flooding," 5 June 2019 Cat bonds emerged in the mid-1990s, after Hurricane Andrew ravaged the Florida coast and bankrupted nearly a dozen insurance companies, which didn’t have the money to cover such a massive storm. latimes.com, "Mexico's disaster bonds were meant to provide quick cash after hurricanes and earthquakes. But it often hasn’t worked out that way," 8 Apr. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about ravage

Dictionary Entries near ravage








Statistics for ravage

Last Updated

4 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ravage

The first known use of ravage was in 1602

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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.

Keep scrolling for more

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).


involving a confidence or trust

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Word Puzzles

  • alt 57589b2b4c6a3
  • Which answer pairs best with each of the following words? living, estate, club, music, road, mile
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!