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

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

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Adjective

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 These influence cards can have crown, raven, sword, or skull symbols, or some combination of those. Keith Law, Ars Technica, "Turn your tabletop into a real Game of Thrones with Oathbreaker game," 23 Nov. 2019 Sightings at Race Point in Provincetown included a royal tern, 5 parasitic jaegers, 1,100 laughing gulls, 2 least terns, 175 roseate terns, 2,800 common terns, 4 species of shearwater, and 2 common ravens. BostonGlobe.com, "Recent bird sightings on Cape Cod (as of Sept. 17) as reported to the Massachusetts Audubon Society.," 24 Sep. 2019 The herders watch the birds, the snow buntings and ptarmigans, the ravens and bluethroats. Juliana Hanle, Scientific American, "The Fight for the Reindeer," 18 Nov. 2019 There was a yellow-throated vireo near Nantucket’s West End and a common raven by the Old Sconset Golf Course. BostonGlobe.com, "Most read on BostonGlobe.com," 10 Nov. 2019 The name comes from the legend of the Tower Ravens, which says that if the six ravens ever leave the Tower of London, the country will fall. Jason Fanelli, The Hollywood Reporter, "Esports Arena: Blizzard Cancels 'Overwatch' Event Amid China Controversy," 16 Oct. 2019 There are natural predators such as foxes, coyotes and eagles, and ravens and gulls get eggs and some colts. John Schandelmeier, Anchorage Daily News, "You can hunt sandhill cranes, or you can just stand there and watch them in awe," 1 Oct. 2019 Play—or scientifically speaking, voluntary recreational activity—is widespread in the animal kingdom, with dolphins, cats, dogs, otters, ravens and even crocodiles engaging in forms of play. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Rats Learned to Play Hide and Seek to Help Study the Brain," 13 Sep. 2019 On the world stage, Justin Trudeau is living proof that getting a Haida raven tattoo on your shoulder will not harm your chances of becoming a head of state. Brennan Kilbane, WSJ, "You’re Not Too Old for a Tattoo," 25 July 2018 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Then there is the pileated woodpecker, big as an owl and raven black, except for its white wing bars and the scarlet and white head markings. Adrian Higgins, Washington Post, "The percussive appeal of the woodpecker," 17 July 2019 Needless to say, Jimin's latest raven-haired reveal for the tour provided some serendipity for ARMYs (and a break for his scalp). Devon Abelman, Allure, "BTS's Jimin Just Dyed His Hair Black for the First Stop of the U.S. Stadium Tour," 6 May 2019 The shadow of a witch materializes on a wall, which parts to reveal a glamorous, raven-haired woman (Rachel Oliveros Catalano) in an iridescent green gown. Daryl H. Miller, latimes.com, "Review: A life told in tall tales; 'Big Fish' at the Chance Theater," 12 July 2018 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Watching from bare branches, ravens warbled and croaked. Kyle Hopkins, ProPublica, "After the Last Cop Killed Himself, All the Criminals Have to Do Is Hide," 24 Oct. 2019 Not just use tools — ravens use tools, and chimps use tools. John Schandelmeier, Anchorage Daily News, "Being called a ‘bird brain’ might not be the insult you think it is," 29 Aug. 2019 In tarnished silver light the royal ravens spoke la langue verte, the green tongue of living speech. L. S. Asekoff, Harper's magazine, "Sundowner," 19 Aug. 2019 Law Enforcement on the Cheap Outside Kiana City Hall, ravens pinwheeled above the trees on a weekday afternoon in March. Kyle Hopkins, ProPublica, "ProPublica’s Local Reporting Network," 16 May 2019 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

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

Time Traveler for raven

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for raven

Last Updated

6 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Raven.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ravener?pronunciation&lang=en_us&dir=r&file=raven004. Accessed 10 December 2019.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for raven

raven

noun
How to pronounce raven (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for raven

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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

to state or do over again or repeatedly

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Semantic Drift Quiz

  • a twisty river
  • Which of the following was once a synonym for fun?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

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!