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

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 Amazingly, this is L.A.’s first entry on the list, which aims to protect important places that are natural or cultural treasures (or both) from the ravages of time and humankind. Catharine Hamm, latimes.com, "Escapes: A UNESCO site for L.A., in recognition of Frank Lloyd Wright’s genius," 11 July 2019 After the ravages of World War II, whale meat became a vital source of protein in Japan. Ivan Watson, CNN, "By killing whales, Japan seeks to revive a dying industry," 2 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The country has been ravaged for 40 years starting with a decade-long Russian occupation in 1979, followed by bloody infighting among mujahedeen who had received U.S. backing against the Russians. Washington Post, "War-weary Afghans see little voice in their country’s fate," 2 Sep. 2019 South America's second biggest economy is being ravaged by inflation that tops 54%. Julia Horowitz, CNN, "Argentina slaps controls on the peso as currency crisis grows," 2 Sep. 2019 Historic Ellicott City has been ravaged by two catastrophic, deadly floods that cost millions in damage since 2016. Erin B. Logan, baltimoresun.com, "County executive, councilwoman file competing bills to address development’s impact on Ellicott City flooding," 26 Aug. 2019 Like many parts of Appalachia once rich in natural resources, Owsley has been ravaged by the disintegration of the timber and coal industries. Anchorage Daily News, "Just 15% of U.S. pharmacies distributed nearly half of prescription opioid pain pills," 12 Aug. 2019 São Paulo was ravaged by floods a year after its taps nearly ran dry. Somini Sengupta, BostonGlobe.com, "A quarter of world’s population faces extreme stress as water supplies ebb, study says," 6 Aug. 2019 Basically, the neighborhoods were being ravaged by gangs. Dave Orrick, Twin Cities, "A black Republican is running for Congress in the metro suburbs. What does he think of Trump?," 29 July 2019 Just a quarter-century ago, Major League Baseball was ravaged by a strike that canceled the 1994 World Series and left the future of the national pastime in doubt. Jared Diamond, WSJ, "Baseball Has a Home Run Crisis," 8 July 2019 Other towns elsewhere have been similarly ravaged by crude colossi, and Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) has shown up and taken note. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, "Review: “Spider-Man: Far from Home” Presents the Illusion of a Good Movie," 1 July 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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Statistics for ravage

Last Updated

6 Sep 2019

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

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).


readily or continually undergoing change

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