raven

noun
ra·​ven | \ ˈrā-vən How to pronounce raven (audio) \

Definition of raven

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: a large, glossy-black bird (Corvus corax) that is widely distributed in northern parts of the northern hemisphere but now rare in most areas of the eastern and central U.S. and that differs from the closely related common crow chiefly in its larger size and wedge-shaped tail and in having the feathers of the throat narrow and pointed resulting in a shaggy appearance also : any of various usually large and glossy black, corvine birds

raven

adjective

Definition of raven (Entry 2 of 3)

: shiny and black like a raven's feathers raven hair

raven

verb
rav·​en | \ ˈra-vən How to pronounce raven (audio) \
ravened; ravening\ ˈra-​və-​niŋ How to pronounce ravening (audio) , ˈrav-​niŋ \

Definition of raven (Entry 3 of 3)

intransitive verb

1 : to feed greedily
2 : to prowl for food : prey
3 : plunder

transitive verb

1 : to devour greedily
2 : despoil men … raven the earth, destroying its resourcesNew Yorker

Illustration of raven

Illustration of raven

Noun

In the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from raven

Verb

ravener \ ˈra-​və-​nər How to pronounce ravener (audio) , ˈrav-​nər \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for raven

Synonyms: Adjective

black, ebony, pitch-black, pitch-dark, pitchy, sable

Synonyms: Verb

bolt, cram, devour, glut [archaic], gobble, gorge, gormandize, gulp, ingurgitate, inhale, scarf, scoff, slop, wolf

Antonyms: Adjective

white

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of raven in a Sentence

Adjective

a black satin dress that matches her silky, raven hair

Verb

the rat ravened the poisoned bait just as we had hoped

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The cosmetics queen went classic for her beauty look, opting for a bright red lip and voluminous raven waves. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kylie Jenner's Wearing a Whole Lotta Pink at the Grammys," 11 Feb. 2019 Kim wore her long raven hair down with loose waves styled by her go-to hairstylist, Chris Appleton. Nicole Saunders, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kim Kardashian Wears the Sexiest Vintage Versace Dress to the amFAR Gala," 8 Feb. 2019 In that same amount of time, Leo's hair has gone from wavy auburn to straight raven black, and the depth of his smoky eye makeup varies on a daily basis. Devon Abelman, Allure, "The Rose Opens Up About the Pressure to Have Good Skin in K-Pop and Beyond," 5 Oct. 2018 The white raven then flew back and laid and egg, which split open to reveal a shining stone with healing powers. Mehera Bonner, Harper's BAZAAR, "Outlander Season 4 Episode 4 Reveals How Claire & Jamie May Die," 26 Nov. 2018 The raven, a bird that does not necessarily find universal favor, has achieved notoriety as an evil omen in Europe. John Schandelmeier, Anchorage Daily News, "Some words on birds and their impact on Alaska and the rest of the world," 24 June 2018 Terms to describe the natural world—such as acorn, adder, bluebell, bramble, otter, raven and willow—have been banished to make room for such chilly contemporary words as blog, broadband and bullet-point. Meghan Cox Gurdon, WSJ, "What to Give: Children’s Books," 15 Nov. 2018 The paraphernalia of skulls and guts and ravens are merely a uniform that declares intent. Kelsea Stahler, Teen Vogue, "The Resurgence of Witches in Pop Culture Like Sabrina, AHS "Coven," and "Charmed" Reflects Women in the Real World," 14 Nov. 2018 Kihyun also darkened his brown hair to a raven hue. Devon Abelman, Allure, "Monsta X's 9 Most Daring Eye Makeup Looks From the "Shoot Out" Music Video," 22 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Two other eagles joined in the dive-bombing of the sow while a raven dive-bombed the flying eagles. Anchorage Daily News, "Katmai National Park drama: Bear vs. Eagles," 16 June 2018 The Danish model and actress, 54, gave PEOPLE an exclusive look at the little raven-haired beauty, who arrived safely in a Los Angeles hospital on Friday, June 22, weighing 5 lbs. Gillian Telling, PEOPLE.com, "Meet Frida! Brigitte Nielsen, 54, Shares a Sneak Peek at Her Newborn Baby Girl," 27 June 2018 Perhaps at one point, these two raven species developed distinct appearances, vocalizations or mating displays. Talia Richman, baltimoresun.com, "Two species of ravens? Nevermore, quoth the UMBC professor," 1 May 2018 The petite, raven-haired designer Tatiana Baibabaeva seems to be living a globe-spanning fairytale that will, if everything goes according to plan, soon land her in sun-swept Mallorca keeping shop with her husband. Vogue, "Tatiana Baibabaeva Is Infusing Slow Fashion with Sensuality, One Macramé Dress at a Time," 31 May 2018 That's so not raven (@thicknpetite_) May 18, 2018 Oh... Stephen Daw, Billboard, "'RuPaul's Drag Race:' Gay Twitter Reacts to Last Night's Shocking 'Lip Sync For Your Life'," 18 May 2018 Because Kunis made a major hair change at the 2018 Billboard Music Awards last night with a raven-black, cropped bob and crazy-short bangs. Chloe Metzger, Marie Claire, "Guys, Mila Kunis Chopped Off All Her Hair and Looks Unrecognizable," 21 May 2018 The color scheme is rich and dark — most of the walls are painted a color called raven plume — and a custom carpet features H monograms (for Hogwarts, Harry’s alma mater). Michael Paulson, New York Times, "Another Harry Potter Landmark: At $68 Million, the Most Expensive Broadway Nonmusical Play Ever," 14 Apr. 2018 The football player was sitting at a big table in the VIP area of Le Queen club on March 8, surrounded by friends and security guards, but his attention was laser-focused on the raven-haired beauty at a nearby table. Fox News, "French beauty talks of night with Odell Beckham Jr.," 18 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

This far from base reality, the haywire way that things go—Rhea’s death, the narrow and fragile window of our moment in all the cold eons, even Little Sister ravening to survive—make a kind of sense now. Smith Henderson, Popular Mechanics, "Olympia," 20 Nov. 2017 There were a few pence to be made in telling tall tales — about the gallows and queens on the chopping block and ravens, too. William Booth, The Seattle Times, "The secrets of the royal ravenmaster at the Tower of London," 26 Oct. 2018 Less dramatic, but no less valued in some quarters, ravens serve to aid in the clean-up of our Alaska roadsides. John Schandelmeier, Anchorage Daily News, "Some words on birds and their impact on Alaska and the rest of the world," 24 June 2018 The series shifts to Oakland, Calif., and its ravening crowd for Game 3. Michael Powell, New York Times, "Rockets vs. Warriors: The Dead Live Again in Houston," 17 May 2018 The penultimate episode of season seven took some heat in terms of the practicalities of travel — the speed with which ravens and dragons could fly between Dragonstone and the realm beyond the Wall, for instance. Josh Wigler, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Game of Thrones' Star on the Final Season: "It's Going to Hit Hard"," 19 Dec. 2017 At their best, these works have been enlivened by piquant details that summon the quirks and ravening egos of predators in power suits. Ben Brantley, New York Times, "Review: ‘Junk’ Revives a Go-Go Era of Debt and Duplicity," 2 Nov. 2017 An adult male grizzly chases ravens off the carcass of a bison at the Grand Teton National Park carcass dump. National Geographic, "15 Majestic Views That Made a Photographer Move to Wyoming," 9 Apr. 2016

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

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

Adjective

1637, in the meaning defined above

Verb

1530, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

History and Etymology for raven

Noun

Middle English, from Old English hræfn; akin to Old High German hraban raven, Latin corvus, Greek korax

Verb

Middle French raviner to rush, take by force, from ravine rapine

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about raven

Statistics for raven

Last Updated

15 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for raven

The first known use of raven was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for raven

raven

noun

English Language Learners Definition of raven

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a bird that has shiny black feathers and looks like a crow but is larger

raven

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of raven (Entry 2 of 2)

literary : shiny and black

raven

noun
ra·​ven | \ ˈrā-vən How to pronounce raven (audio) \

Kids Definition of raven

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a large shiny black bird that is larger than the related crow

raven

adjective

Kids Definition of raven (Entry 2 of 2)

: shiny and black like a raven's feathers

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on raven

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with raven

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for raven

Spanish Central: Translation of raven

Nglish: Translation of raven for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of raven for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about raven

Comments on raven

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

WORD OF THE DAY

likely to have or produce good results

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Latin Quiz

  • roman forum
  • Which of the following months comes from a Latin word for “ten”?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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