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ravage

[rav-ij] /ˈræv ɪdʒ/
verb (used with object), ravaged, ravaging.
1.
to work havoc upon; damage or mar by ravages:
a face ravaged by grief.
verb (used without object), ravaged, ravaging.
2.
to work havoc; do ruinous damage.
noun
3.
havoc; ruinous damage:
the ravages of war.
4.
devastating or destructive action.
Origin
1605-1615
1605-15; < French, Middle French, equivalent to rav(ir) to ravish + -age -age
Related forms
ravagement, noun
ravager, noun
unravaged, adjective
Can be confused
ravage, ravish.
ravenous, ravaging, ravishing (see synonym study at ravenous)
Synonyms
1. ruin, despoil, plunder, pillage, sack. 4. ruin, waste, desolation.
Antonyms
1. build, repair. 4. creation.
Synonym Study
1. Ravage, devastate, lay waste all refer, in their literal application, to the wholesale destruction of a countryside by an invading army (or something comparable). Lay waste has remained the closest to the original meaning of destruction of land: The invading army laid waste the towns along the coast. But ravage and devastate are used in reference to other types of violent destruction and may also have a purely figurative application. Ravage is often used of the results of epidemics: The Black Plague ravaged 14th-century Europe; and even of the effect of disease or suffering on the human countenance: a face ravaged by despair. Devastate, in addition to its concrete meaning (vast areas devastated by bombs), may be used figuratively: a devastating remark.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for ravages
  • Today's threats come from reckless tourists, opportunistic developers, an indifferent public and the ravages of nature.
  • New insights into how cells cope with stress could help combat neurological diseases and reduce the ravages of aging.
  • Literature and taste, indeed, still disguised with a flush of hectic loveliness and brilliancy the ravages of an incurable decay.
  • Not all survive the ravages of weather, disease and chance that determine success or failure.
  • Coal mine accidents grab the major headlines, and ravages of the land are visible and dramatic.
  • One they didn't have was feathers, and given the ravages of time and the delicate nature of plumage, finding some seemed unlikely.
  • Clearly melanin protects us from the ravages of ultraviolet light.
  • Even now, as unemployment ravages the country, so-called industrial policy remains politically toxic.
  • Unfortunately, that goal was cut short by the ravages of abdominal cancer.
  • The emotional impact of an actual fire provides a heightened awareness to the ravages of fire.
British Dictionary definitions for ravages

ravage

/ˈrævɪdʒ/
verb
1.
to cause extensive damage to
noun
2.
(often pl) destructive action: the ravages of time
Derived Forms
ravagement, noun
ravager, noun
Word Origin
C17: from French, from Old French ravir to snatch away, ravish
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for ravages

ravage

v.

1610s, from French ravager "lay waste, devastate," from Old French ravage "destruction," especially by flood (14c.), from ravir "to take away hastily" (see ravish). Related: Ravaged; ravaging.

n.

1610s, from French ravage "destruction" (see ravage (v.)). Related: Ravages.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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