Definitions

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

  • transitive v. To bring heavy destruction on; devastate: A tornado ravaged the town.
  • transitive v. To pillage; sack: Enemy soldiers ravaged the village.
  • intransitive v. To wreak destruction.
  • n. The act or practice of pillaging, destroying, or devastating.
  • n. Grievous damage; havoc: the ravages of disease.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To devastate or destroy something
  • v. To pillage or sack something, to lay waste to something
  • v. To wreak destruction
  • n. Grievous damage or havoc
  • n. Depredation or devastation

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Desolation by violence; violent ruin or destruction; devastation; havoc; waste
  • transitive v. To lay waste by force; to desolate by violence; to commit havoc or devastation upon; to spoil; to plunder; to consume.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Desolation or destruction wrought by the violent action of men or beasts, or by physical or moral causes; devastation; havoc; waste; ruin: as, the ravage of a lion; the ravages of fire or tempest; the ravages of an invading army; the ravages of passion or grief.
  • n. Synonyms Pillage, plunder, spoliation, despoilment. These words all apply not to the treatment of people directly, but to the destruction or appropriation of property.
  • To desolate violently; lay waste, as by force, storm, etc.; commit havoc on; devastate; pillage; despoil.
  • Synonyms To plunder, waste. See the noun.

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

  • v. cause extensive destruction or ruin utterly
  • v. make a pillaging or destructive raid on (a place), as in wartimes
  • n. (usually plural) a destructive action

Etymologies

French ravager, from Old French, to uproot, from ravir, to ravish; see ravish.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French ravage ("ravage, havoc, spoil"), from ravir ("to bear away suddenly"), from Latin rapere ("to snatch, seize"), akin to Ancient Greek ἁρπάζω (arpazō, "to seize") (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • "Genocide was the most sobering reality of all," the department said in the 2006 "Country Reports on Human Rights Practices," noting that mass killings continued to "ravage" Darfur nearly 60 years after the world vowed "Never again!" following the Holocaust.

    ANC Daily News Briefing

  • Interacting with the wolves is purely voluntary, as they do not initiate the encounter that will (to use the developer's own term) 'ravage' the girl and leave her back on the path, where she can continue the last few steps towards the house.

    VideoGamer.com - All Updates

  • I could not ride any distance in the conventional mode, and was just going to give up this splendid "ravage," when the man said, "Ride your own fashion; here, at

    A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains

  • On the one hand, the Bank Panic of 2008, started in and by America, will continue to ravage the recessional economy.

    Pravda predicts

  • This carbon loophole has allowed pollution giants like Exxon Mobil, Koch Industries, Peabody Coal, and Massey Energy to ravage the planet, sicken our children, and rake in obscene profits for decades.

    Wonk Room » Byron Dorgan Tells His Flood-Ravaged State That A Repowered America Is ‘Not Going To Happen’

  • Seeing how cancer can ravage the vitality from a person, it was a damned humbling sight.

    How I'll Always Remember Dennis Hopper

  • As cholera continues to ravage parts of Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Latin America -- reportedly reaching Puerto Rico and Hong Kong this week -- public health researchers are looking to the skies in hopes of anticipating future outbreaks.

    Satellite Images May Help Predict The Next Cholera Outbreak

  • He knew he would have to face Darius at some point as the Great King could not allow him to ravage his empire unpunished.

    Alexander the Great

  • In rural Statesboro, Georgia during the early 1900s William James started schools for rural Blacks during a time of ravage racial discrimination.

    Roderick Carey: Parents Aren't to Blame for the Achievement Gap: A History of Injustice Is!

  • Throwing more resources research dollars, drug development funds, clinical trial investments, and thousands of highly trained personnel at the challenges of pathological brain aging without challenging some deeply entrenched assumptions about these diseases, and how it is that they ravage brain function, are doomed to repeat the past.

    Brain Research Needs New Ideas

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