raven

1 of 3

noun

ra·​ven ˈrā-vən How to pronounce raven (audio)
: 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

Illustration of raven

Illustration of raven

raven

2 of 3

adjective

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

raven

3 of 3

verb

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

intransitive verb

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

transitive verb

1
: to devour greedily
2
: despoil
men … raven the earth, destroying its resourcesNew Yorker
ravener
ˈra-və-nər How to pronounce raven (audio)
ˈrav-nər
noun

Examples of raven in a Sentence

Adjective had dark eyes and raven hair Verb the rat ravened the poisoned bait just as we had hoped
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
The common raven is known to stash food in different places within its home and can recognized handlers by sight and sound. Tony Roberts, Baltimore Sun, 18 June 2024 If nothing else, the North is a respite — a reminder of kinder, simpler worlds within Westeros — and quickly snatched away when Jace receives a raven from Dragonstone, carrying news of his brother’s death. Proma Khosla, IndieWire, 16 June 2024
Adjective
Keeping her dress and its dramatic train the centerpiece of her entire ensemble, Perry opted to wear her raven black hair down with natural waves. Julia Teti, WWD, 25 June 2024 Created by celebrity colorist Matt Rez, honeyed ribbon highlights like these are very popular right now–just see Rihanna, who also recently swapped her raven colour for a similar tone. Hannah Coates, Vogue, 5 Mar. 2024 See all Example Sentences for raven 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'raven.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

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

Verb

probably verbal derivative of ravin

Note: It is pointed out by the Oxford English Dictionary, third edition, that given the Middle English attestation of the derivatives ravener "plunderer, predatory animal" and ravening "rapacious," this verb may also date to Middle English. Compare Anglo-French raviner "to steal, take away," apparently attested once.

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near raven

Cite this Entry

“Raven.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/raven. Accessed 13 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

raven

1 of 2 noun
ra·​ven ˈrā-vən How to pronounce raven (audio)
: a bird of Europe, Asia, northern Africa, and America that has glossy black feathers and is larger than the related crow

raven

2 of 2 adjective
: shiny and black like a raven's feathers
raven hair

More from Merriam-Webster on raven

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