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[rav-ij] /ˈræv ɪdʒ/
verb (used with object), ravaged, ravaging.
to work havoc upon; damage or mar by ravages:
a face ravaged by grief.
verb (used without object), ravaged, ravaging.
to work havoc; do ruinous damage.
havoc; ruinous damage:
the ravages of war.
devastating or destructive action.
Origin of ravage
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)
1. ruin, despoil, plunder, pillage, sack. 4. ruin, waste, desolation.
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. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for ravaged
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The fame of his deed spread through all Norway, especially in those parts where the berserks had ravaged most mercilessly.

  • She set a hand on his shoulder, and looked down into his ravaged, haggard countenance.

    The Snare Rafael Sabatini
  • Qudshanis itself was ravaged; the church plundered; and many priceless records utterly destroyed.

    The Cradle of Mankind W.A. Wigram
  • He ravaged the seas within cannon-shot of English headlands.

  • Large numbers of Danes landed on our eastern coasts and ravaged the midlands.

    Cheshire Charles E. Kelsey
British Dictionary definitions for ravaged


to cause extensive damage to
(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 ravaged



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.


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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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