from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Forcible seizure of another's property; plunder.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The seizure of someone's property by force; plunder.
  • v. To plunder.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The act of plundering; the seizing and carrying away of things by force; spoliation; pillage; plunder.
  • n. Ravishment; rape.
  • transitive v. To plunder.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To plunder violently or by superior force.
  • n. The violent seizure and carrying off of property; open plunder by armed or superior force, as in war or by invasion or raid.
  • n. Violence; force; ravishment.
  • n. Synonyms Plunder, spoliation, robbery, depredation. See pillage.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the act of despoiling a country in warfare


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English, from Old French, from Latin rapīna, from rapere, to seize; see rep- in Indo-European roots.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English and Old French, from Latin rapīna, from rapiō.


  • The number of prisoners or criminals would be inadequate to the annual demand; but the common people are in a state of servitude to their lords; the exercise of fraud or rapine is unpunished in a lawless community; and the market is continually replenished by the abuse of civil and paternal authority.

    The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

  • The king, while fully acknowledging Clive's services, thought him guilty of "rapine," and disapproved of his virtual acquittal.

    The Political History of England - Vol. X. The History of England from the Accession of George III to the close of Pitt's first Administration

  • Eginhard's indignation at the "rapine" of this "nequissimus nebulo" is exquisitely droll.

    Lectures and Essays

  • They come with the guilt of fresh sins warm upon their consciences, lifting up those hands in prayer that were lately busied in all kind of rapine and violence, and joining in it with those tongues that were not long before the instruments of railing, filth, and obscenity.

    Sermons Preached Upon Several Occasions. Vol. VII.

  • His was the lean ship, and his the seven other lean ships that had made the foray, fled the rapine, and won through the storm.

    Chapter 17

  • * One of ancient Rome's richest men, I discovered googling, was Marcus Linius Crassus, who achieved his wealth through 'fire and rapine.'

    Iris Erlingsdottir: Axing Art$ And Humanitie$

  • Thomas Asbridge opens his book The First Crusade (2004) with this quote from Pope Urban II: A race absolutely alien to God has invaded the land of Christians, has reduced the people with sword, rapine and flame.

    Archive 2009-03-01

  • It's a one-book explanation for the current move to the left in a growing number of Latin American countries, tracing a centuries-long history of rapine and plunder, of genocide and dictatorship, first at the hands of Spain, and more recently under the baleful influence of the US, which operated directly or by proxy to ensure that nothing would ever change.

    Archive 2009-04-01

  • If Cameron wanted realism, I suppose he could have instead depicted interminable sabotage, terrorism, and guerrilla warfare as the humans slowly but inevitably ate their way across the planet's surface, justifying the devastation by pointing out the brutality of their opponents while the Na'vi justified their brutality by pointing out the humans 'rapine use of resources and destruction of sacred sites.

    Movie Review: Avatar

  • Oh, I have heard that figuration used in truly suspect ways, heard it used in the “rapine” sense, applied to some resource or other, and the phrase turned with a sort of cosy, jokey wonder at the sheer thoroughness with which that resource was exploited.

    On Profanity: 4


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  • Adso used this word in "The Name Of The Rose."

    June 10, 2012

  • "'And what happened to you?' I asked politely, meaning how did he come to depart his wonderful warm-blooded life of rapine and slaughter for the vampire edition of the same thing."-Dead as a Doornail, by Charlaine Harris

    May 19, 2011

  • ... and on a heath beneath winking stars a fox, red reek of rapine in his fur, with merciless bright eyes scraped in the earth, listened, scraped up the earth, listened, scraped and scraped.

    Joyce, Ulysses, 2

    December 29, 2006