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 raven (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

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Other Words from raven

Verb

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

Synonyms & Antonyms for raven

Synonyms: Adjective

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Adjective

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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 Google Doodle features Peratrovich speaking into a microphone at a podium with a raven behind her, representing her Lukaax̱.ádi clan — a Raven moiety. Samantha Davenport, Anchorage Daily News, "Tlingit artist designs new Google Doodle featuring Alaska Native civil rights leader Elizabeth Peratrovich," 31 Dec. 2020 Other unlikely companions follow, including a garrulous raven, two contentious mallards, a lonely rat and a handful of kind humans. Emily Bobrow, WSJ, "Novelist Jane Smiley Has a Soft Spot for Happy Endings," 4 Dec. 2020 The raven is an omen of good luck to the Koyukon Indians. Philip Caputo, Field & Stream, "F&S Classics: The Old Man and the Mountains," 22 Nov. 2020 The raven is an important mythological figure in Alaska Native and American Indian cultures, symbolizing, among other things, creation and transformation. Paula Dobbyn, Anchorage Daily News, "An Anchorage shelter under lockdown draws on the healing power of art and community," 17 Apr. 2020 The eggs had been scavenged — by ravens, by jays, by squirrels — and Jackie finally carried off one of them, who knows where. Jonah Weiner, New York Times, "How Watching Bald Eagles Build a Nest Prepared Me for the Pandemic," 12 May 2020 Corvids are a family of birds that includes crows, ravens, and magpies—and many are abundant this time of year. Katherine Ellen Foley, Quartz, "The Corvid-19 quiz: Test your knowledge of the birds, not Covid-19," 6 Apr. 2020 Like other corvids—a family that includes jays, ravens, crows, and magpies—this species is very vocal, and will use different alarm calls to alert the rest of the group to the presence of a predator above versus one from below, such as a snake. National Geographic, "Florida scrub jay," 3 Mar. 2020 There were also two bald eagles at Jackson Point, two common ravens, and a palm warbler at Coskata-Coatue Wildlife Refuge, and a brown thrasher at Milestone Cranberry Bog. BostonGlobe.com, "Bird sightings," 16 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Back in 2017, Gadot and Jenkins broke records launching the Wonder Woman franchise to the tune of $822 million globally: Wherever the earnest, raven-haired superhero swung on her golden lasso, audiences (and Halloween costumes) followed. Andrea Mandell, USA TODAY, "'It's OK to say this is my value': 'Wonder Woman' Gal Gadot opens up about her Hollywood ascension," 24 Dec. 2020 That task was an easy one for the raven, and the bird’s just reward was forthcoming. Rachel Nuwer, Scientific American, "Young Ravens Rival Adult Chimps in a Big Test of General Intelligence," 10 Dec. 2020 The raven re-enacts the physical and metaphorical journey every northerner makes from fall into spring. Ned Rozell, Anchorage Daily News, "Remembering Sherry Simpson and her gift of keen observation," 21 Nov. 2020 Years of outdoor adventures made Veya attuned to the nature in our backyard, from tending the garden and noticing its daily growth to taking nightly perimeter walks, finding raven feathers and animal habitats. Jill K. Robinson, SFChronicle.com, "An 11-year-old’s home away from home in the pandemic is a tent in the backyard," 29 Nov. 2020 Executed by stylist Amber Maynard Bolt, Lovato's cut and color offered a punkish, irreverent air—a stark departure from her menu of glossy waves and shoulder-skimming raven lob. Calin Van Paris, Vogue, "Demi Lovato Goes Blonde—and Punk!—With a Bold New Hair Look," 19 Nov. 2020 Kate McKinnon marched in to reprise her Hillary Clinton impersonation, wearing a pantsuit and a raven cape. Washington Post, "SNL tells Halloween horror story warning that Trump could win reelection," 1 Nov. 2020 The dean of raven studies in the U.S., Bernd Heinrich, a professor emeritus at the University of Vermont, also dressed up to fool ravens. Ned Rozell, Anchorage Daily News, "Ravens and crows are hard to fool. These scientists and researchers have tried.," 17 Oct. 2020 About the size of a raven, that ancient animal’s mix of bird and dinosaur features showed an example of evolutionary transition, providing support for Charles Darwin’s theories. Ryan Carney, National Geographic, "The first known dinosaur feather inspired decades of dispute. Here's why.," 30 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The authors repeated the same 33 tasks for each raven at four, eight, 12 and 16 months of age. Rachel Nuwer, Scientific American, "Young Ravens Rival Adult Chimps in a Big Test of General Intelligence," 10 Dec. 2020 Not a single coal miner was in sight, just a big, black Chihuahuan raven sitting atop a light post. Eric Lipton, New York Times, "“We are back. The coal industry is back,”," 6 Oct. 2020 Willyerd also included a more subtle image of a raven in the mural, a nod to a place most Janesville artist know and love, Raven's Wish Art Gallery, located across the river a few blocks away. Frank Schultz, Star Tribune, "Mural project meant to give downtown Janesville a fresh look," 14 Sep. 2020 Raven Politics Young ravens that do not have a bonding partner or territory form temporary flocks that congregate at major food resources, such as an animal carcass. Onur Güntürkün, Scientific American, "“Birdbrain” Turns from Insult to Praise," 1 Jan. 2020 In the battle over football and brain health, Dr. Camarillo portrays himself as occupying the sensible center, an agnostic caught between ravening ideologues. Michael Powell, New York Times, "This Helmet Will Save Football. Actually, Probably Not.," 14 Dec. 2019 When large predators defend their food caches, ravens call in other flock members to engage in diversionary tactics for gaining access to the food. Onur Güntürkün, Scientific American, "“Birdbrain” Turns from Insult to Praise," 1 Jan. 2020 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

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for raven

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for raven

Last Updated

14 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Raven.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/raven. Accessed 19 Jan. 2021.

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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

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Comments on raven

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