ra·​vine rə-ˈvēn How to pronounce ravine (audio)
: a small narrow steep-sided valley that is larger than a gully and smaller than a canyon and that is usually worn by running water

Example Sentences

he urged his horse down into the ravine where there was a thin stream of water flowing
Recent Examples on the Web The first of the murders hinted at in the play’s title happens in a ravine that keeps being mentioned as a landmark. Vinson Cunningham, The New Yorker, 12 Dec. 2022 The bridge spanning a ravine collapsed, requiring rescuers to rappel nearly 150 feet, while others formed a human chain to help rescue multiple people from a dangling bus. Time, 23 Nov. 2022 Something or someone is definitely haunting the grassy Calgary ravine where much of Graham Foy’s ambitiously amorphous debut takes place. Jessica Kiang, Variety, 9 Nov. 2022 The ravine lay more than 9,000 feet below, and no guardrail lined the road. Anna Sherman Maxime Fossat, New York Times, 3 Nov. 2022 One witness for the fire department, acting chief Anthony Marrone, testified Jordan at one point texted him the location of Gianna Bryant’s remains in a ravine at the crash site. Brent Schrotenboer, USA TODAY, 24 Aug. 2022 Firefighters and park rangers rescued a woman who got stuck in the mud near Shadow Cliffs Lake in Pleasanton on Saturday after trailing her dog down a ravine. Rachel Swan, San Francisco Chronicle, 26 Nov. 2022 Nearly a month after Cantrell vanished, police, who used GPS data from Dudley's truck, found Cantrell's body wrapped in garbage bags in a ravine in a nearby town, according to a search warrant obtained by PEOPLE. Kc Baker, Peoplemag, 16 Nov. 2022 The striking 210,000-square-foot complex, built into a ravine in the foothills of the Ozarks, is a thing of beauty, brimming with the finest American art money can buy — and a Walmart heiress can buy a lot. Mark Shanahan, BostonGlobe.com, 31 Oct. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ravine.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


borrowed from French, "torrrent of water, gully formed by running water," going back to Middle French, "torrent of water," derivative of raviner "to run quickly, flow forcefully (of blood, water)," derivative of Old French ravine "violent force, momentum," going back to Latin rapīna "forcible carrying off of property, seizure and carrying off of a woman" — more at rapine

Note: See note at ravin.

First Known Use

1687, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of ravine was in 1687

Dictionary Entries Near ravine

Cite this Entry

“Ravine.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ravine. Accessed 26 Jan. 2023.

Kids Definition


ra·​vine rə-ˈvēn How to pronounce ravine (audio)
: a small narrow valley with steep sides that is larger than a gully and smaller than a canyon

More from Merriam-Webster on ravine

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