Word of the Day : August 5, 2018

bereft

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adjective bih-REFT

Definition

1 : deprived or robbed of the possession or use of something — usually used with of

2 : lacking something needed, wanted, or expected — used with of

3 : suffering the death of a loved one : bereaved

Did You Know?

In Old English, the verb berēafian meant "to plunder or rob." The modern equivalent (and descendant) of berēafian is bereave, a verb that implies that you have robbed or stripped someone of something, often suddenly and unexpectedly, and sometimes by force. Bereft comes from the past participle of bereave; Shakespeare uses the participle in The Merchant of Venice, when Bassanio tells Portia, "Madam, you have bereft me of all words." But by Shakespeare's day bereft was also being used as an adjective. The Bard uses it in The Taming of the Shrew, as a newly obedient and docile Katharina declares, "A woman mov'd is like a fountain troubled—muddy, … thick, bereft of beauty."


Examples

"The sustaining whirlwind had let her down, to stumble on again …, bereft of moral support which is wanted in life more than all the charities of material help." — Joseph Conrad, Chance, 1913

"People rarely relate intimate tales of misery and isolation on Facebook. Rather, social media postings typically feature fun and friendship, and people who lack them are likely to feel left out and bereft." — Jane E. Brody, The New York Times, 26 June 2018



Name That Synonym

Fill in the blanks to complete a synonym of bereft: f _ _ l _ r _.

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