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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 ravage
  • Free radicals are highly reactive molecules that ravage the innards of cells.
  • If the floods ravage the town, there probably won't be any money to rebuild it.
  • He is not there to ravage a healthy body in the service of a sick and self-destructive soul.
  • They also finance the research and development of stem cell therapies to treat and cure diseases which ravage lives and families.
  • Experts believe that annual wildfires will increase and will ravage thousands of acres of land and endanger human life.
  • Creates a new fine, targeting the metal thieves who continue to ravage public and private property throughout the state.
  • The distribution of cocaine continues to ravage many communities.
British Dictionary definitions for ravage

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 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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