raven

noun
ra·ven | \ˈrā-vən \

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 \
ravened; ravening\ˈra-və-niŋ, 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, ˈrav-nər \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for raven

Synonyms: Adjective

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

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

Based in Tucson, Glann tries to convey the spirit of a raven, steer, moose, buffalo or horse in his work. Laura Latzko, azcentral, "Sip and stroll at Carefree Fine Art and Wine Festival," 12 Mar. 2018 There are also tracks of four theropods — relatives of the Tyrannosaurus rex that lived tens of millions of years later, but these were smaller, roughly the size of a large raven. Kenneth Chang, New York Times, "Where NASA Put a Parking Lot, Dinosaurs and Mammals Once Crossed Paths," 31 Jan. 2018 Along the route there is a skydive, two raven turns, one back flip and a exhilarating twisting front flip drop along with forward and backward motions, on-board audio and special light effects that are different every time. Julia Fawal, Woman's Day, "10 Things You Never Knew About Roller Coasters," 24 July 2015 For actress Rooney Mara, though, no transformation was needed: The actress simply stuck with her signature subversive raven hair and oxblood lips. Calin Van Paris, Vogue, "At the Met Gala, 16 Beauty Risk-Takers Who Ruled the Red Carpet," 17 Apr. 2018 In publicity photos, she was often featured with her Rapunzel-length raven hair, deemed the longest in the film colony. Adam Bernstein, Washington Post, "Patricia Morison, Broadway star of ‘Kiss Me, Kate,’ dies at 103," 20 May 2018 West Nile virus has changed the composition of bird communities in much of the United States, killing crows and favoring ravens, some researchers say. Jim Robbins, New York Times, "Trillions Upon Trillions of Viruses Fall From the Sky Each Day," 13 Apr. 2018 Mosquitoes become carriers of the disease after feeding on infected birds, such as crows, ravens and finches, which act as hosts for the disease. Hannah Holzer, sacbee, "Vigilance urged as Sacramento region leads state in West Nile virus activity," 12 July 2018 North Americans viewed the raven as a talisman, trickster and deity. John Schandelmeier, Anchorage Daily News, "Some words on birds and their impact on Alaska and the rest of the world," 24 June 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

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

13 Sep 2018

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)

: shiny and black

raven

noun
ra·ven | \ˈrā-vən \

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

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

a state of commotion or excitement

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
True or False

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

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!