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1540s, from Middle French rapacité (16c.), from Latin rapacitatem (nominative rapacitas) "greediness," from rapax (genitive rapacis) "grasping, plundering," from rapere "seize" (see rapid).
1650s, from Latin rapaci-, stem of rapax "grasping," itself from stem of rapere "to seize" (see rapacity) + -ous. Related: Rapaciously; rapaciousness.