rav·​ish·​ing ˈra-vi-shiŋ How to pronounce ravishing (audio)
: unusually attractive, pleasing, or striking
ravishingly adverb

Did you know?

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 ravishing in a Sentence

She is a ravishing beauty. a ravishing view of the ocean
Recent Examples on the Web For more ravishing shots from Cassini, check out the previous posts here at 80beats or over on Bad Astronomy . Andrew Moseman, Discover Magazine, 27 Sep. 2010 The absolutely ravishing beach is located under an hour’s drive from Lisbon, in the midst of Arrábida Natural Park. Stacey Leasca, Travel + Leisure, 18 Mar. 2023 The heat and purity of the music make the trio both elegant and ravishing. New York Times, 6 Sep. 2018 The ravishing Keisha, 22, has just married the wealthy William Radford, a man 40 years her senior. Carol Memmott, Washington Post, 26 Feb. 2020 Other terms of praise home in on desirable attributes—this view is glorious—or describe an effect on the viewer: look at those ravishing mountains. Katy Waldman, The New Yorker, 26 Feb. 2020 But between the influx of modern beauty disruptors like Rihanna and Zendaya, and the 2019 Met Gala bringing the ethos of camp back into the collective conscious, here's hoping it's primed for a ravishing comeback. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, 2 May 2019 Another coastal elegy, still more ravishing in its precision and restraint, is LATER: MY LIFE AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD (Graywolf Press, $16), Paul Lisicky’s memoir of the complicated idyll that Provincetown offered gay men at the start of the 1990s. Lidija Haas, Harper's magazine, 2 Mar. 2020 The 24-year-old actress looked ravishing in a custom Louis Vuitton gown, with a daring thigh-high slit to that corset top. James Love, Essence, 22 Sep. 2019

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

Word History


Middle English ravyschinge "rapacious, rapidly moving, delightful, enchanting," from present participle of ravisshen "to ravish"

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of ravishing was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near ravishing

Cite this Entry

“Ravishing.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ravishing. Accessed 19 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


rav·​ish·​ing ˈrav-ish-iŋ How to pronounce ravishing (audio)
: very attractive or pleasing
ravishingly adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on ravishing

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!