rav·​en·​ous | \ ˈra-və-nəs How to pronounce ravenous (audio) , ˈrav-nəs\

Definition of ravenous

1 : rapacious ravenous wolves
2 : very eager or greedy for food, satisfaction, or gratification a ravenous appetite

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Other Words from ravenous

ravenously adverb
ravenousness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for ravenous

voracious, gluttonous, ravenous, rapacious mean excessively greedy. voracious applies especially to habitual gorging with food or drink. teenagers are often voracious eaters gluttonous applies to one who delights in eating or acquiring things especially beyond the point of necessity or satiety. an admiral who was gluttonous for glory ravenous implies excessive hunger and suggests violent or grasping methods of dealing with food or with whatever satisfies an appetite. a nation with a ravenous lust for territorial expansion rapacious often suggests excessive and utterly selfish acquisitiveness or avarice. rapacious developers indifferent to environmental concerns

ravishing or ravenous?

Ravenous and ravishing are not synonyms, and mixing these two words may lead to potentially awkward writing or conversation. Ravenous is commonly used with the meaning “very eager or greedy for food, satisfaction, or gratification,” and ravishing means “unusually attractive, pleasing, or striking.” If you find yourself hungry and standing in front of a spectacular-looking meal you would say (of the food) “that looks ravishing,” and (of yourself) “I am ravenous.” You may, of course, describe yourself as ravishing, but should be aware that you are commenting on your appearance rather than your hunger.

Examples of ravenous in a Sentence

By the time dinner was ready, we were ravenous. we were ravenous after our canoe paddling, and the chili bubbling over the campfire smelled heavenly

Recent Examples on the Web

Even the most ravenous political junkie may feel overstuffed after gorging on two nights, four hours and 20 candidates' worth of debate smorgasbord. Mark Z. Barabak, latimes.com, "Seven takeaways from Democratic debate Night 2: Sparks from Biden and Harris, honesty from Buttigieg," 27 June 2019 Coal served the Big Boy’s ravenous appetite in the past, but that tremendous hunger mandated coal and water stops for constant replenishment; at full steam, a Big Boy engine would consume the tender’s coal and water supply in two hours. Tom Bentley, Popular Mechanics, "Why the Big Boy 4014 is Such a Badass Train," 13 June 2019 The ravenous larvae then feed on their victims’ keratin, tissue and blood, eventually moving from the nares to feed externally on the developing birds. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Parasites Are Ruining the Lovesongs of Darwin’s Finches," 13 June 2019 When birds and snakes all but disappeared from the Dust Bowl, they were replaced by a biblical plague of locusts, unseen in the West for decades, with as many as 14 million of the ravenous grasshoppers to a mile. Kevin Baker, Harper's magazine, "Where Our New World Begins," 10 May 2019 The first image, captured in 2000 with the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, resembled a classic quasar: an extremely bright and distant object powered by a ravenous supermassive black hole in the center of a galaxy. Quanta Magazine, "Galactic Beacons Get Snuffed Out in a Cosmic Eyeblink," 21 Nov. 2018 For the 30th anniversary tour of his stylistically ravenous Flecktones, there’s no album to celebrate or set of new tunes to explore. Andrew Gilbert, The Mercury News, "Béla Fleck reunites the Flecktones for quickie tour that’s coming to Oakland," 6 June 2019 The ravenous reptile crawled out of a lake in Gainesville, Florida, and started eating everything in sight. Rachel Desantis, PEOPLE.com, "Alligator Crashes Couple's Florida Picnic, Gobbles Up Their Grapes, Cheese and Guacamole," 4 June 2019 Now that same shadow cascades onto the tiny, ravenous 1-year-old who has taken up residence in my heart and my kitchen. Nestor Ramos, BostonGlobe.com, "Will my genes doom my young daughter to a weight problem?," 31 Jan. 2018

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for ravenous

Last Updated

8 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for ravenous

The first known use of ravenous was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for ravenous



English Language Learners Definition of ravenous

: very hungry


rav·​en·​ous | \ ˈra-və-nəs How to pronounce ravenous (audio) \

Kids Definition of ravenous

: very hungry

Other Words from ravenous

ravenously adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on ravenous

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ravenous

Spanish Central: Translation of ravenous

Nglish: Translation of ravenous for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ravenous for Arabic Speakers

Comments on ravenous

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


appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

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