"You canker blossom!" 3 Shakespearean Insults


[bih-reft] /bɪˈrɛft/
a simple past tense and past participle of bereave.
They are bereft of their senses. He is bereft of all happiness.
Origin of bereft
1525-35; be- + reft


[bih-reev] /bɪˈriv/
verb (used with object), bereaved or bereft, bereaving.
to deprive and make desolate, especially by death (usually followed by of):
Illness bereaved them of their mother.
to deprive ruthlessly or by force (usually followed by of):
The war bereaved them of their home.
Obsolete. to take away by violence.
before 900; Middle English bereven, Old English berēafian; cognate with Dutch berooven, German berauben, Gothic biraubōn. See be-, reave1
Related forms
bereavement, noun
bereaver, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for bereft
  • We parted on the fourth day at the train station in Naples, with me memorizing his face, feeling bereft and hopeful.
  • Gift cards have long been a popular option for holiday shoppers who are short on time and bereft of ideas.
  • They were terrified, bereft of the only ruler they had ever known.
  • I'm bereft and missing teaching terribly.
  • He was emotionally withdrawn and appeared bereft of any social sensitivity.
  • bereft of a body, you don't have a vampire anymore, since technically it's a reanimated corpse.
  • Sometimes a star arrives with a story so bereft of surprise you could guess it while knowing only a bit of the script.
  • The next morning, you both awoke bereft and older-the whole country felt this way-and in need of revision.
  • He cannot leave the next generation bereft of its fortune.
  • The volunteers who had their lucky charms did much better than those who were bereft of theirs.
British Dictionary definitions for bereft


(usually foll by of) deprived; parted (from): bereft of hope


verb (transitive)
(usually foll by of) to deprive (of) something or someone valued, esp through death
(obsolete) to remove by force
See also bereft
Word Origin
Old English bereafian; see reave1
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for bereft

late 14c., past participle adjective from bereave (v.).



Old English bereafian "to deprive of, take away, seize, rob," from be + reafian "rob, plunder," from Proto-Germanic *raubojanan, from PIE *reup- "to snatch" (see rapid). A common Germanic formation (cf. Old Frisian birava "despoil," Old Saxon biroban, Dutch berooven, Old High German biroubon, German berauben, Gothic biraubon). Since mid-17c., mostly in reference to life, hope, loved ones, and other immaterial possessions. Past tense forms bereaved and bereft have co-existed since 14c., now slightly differentiated in meaning, the former applied to loss of loved ones, the latter to circumstances.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for bereft

Many English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for bereft

Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with bereft

Nearby words for bereft