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[rav-uh-nuh s] /ˈræv ə nəs/
extremely hungry; famished; voracious:
feeling ravenous after a hard day's work.
extremely rapacious:
a ravenous jungle beast.
intensely eager for gratification or satisfaction.
Origin of ravenous
1350-1400; Middle English < Old French ravineus, equivalent to ravin(er) to raven2 + -eus -ous
Related forms
ravenously, adverb
ravenousness, noun
Can be confused
ravenous, ravaging, ravishing (see synonym study at the current entry)
1. greedy, starved, devouring. Ravenous, ravening, voracious suggest a greediness for food and usually intense hunger. Ravenous implies extreme hunger, or a famished condition: ravenous wild beasts. Ravening adds the idea of fierceness and savagery, especially as shown in a violent manner of acquiring food: ravening wolves. Voracious implies craving or eating a great deal of food: a voracious child; a voracious appetite. It may also be used figuratively: a voracious reader. 2. predatory.
1. sated. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for ravenously
Historical Examples
  • WITH the elasticity of youth the boys slept away their fatigue during the night, but woke up the next morning ravenously hungry.

  • As long as the men were in sight she focused her gaze on them ravenously.

    Brand Blotters William MacLeod Raine
  • At first they “sported” ravenously, rising quick and sure to any insect their marvellous vision might discern.

    Creatures of the Night Alfred W. Rees
  • He tore at the piece of "Barrett's" which I handed him, as ravenously as a wild beast.

    My Friend The Murderer A. Conan Doyle
  • I had seen many a man eating in my time, but never saw I one who ate so ravenously.

    By the Barrow River Edmund Leamy
  • He invested a nickel in peanuts, and the pair devoured them ravenously.

    A Son of the City Herman Gastrell Seely
  • Both were very wet, very cold, ravenously hungry, and rather poorly clad.

    The Coxswain's Bride R.M. Ballantyne
  • I was ravenously hungry, and asked Ingram whether they intended to starve us.

    The Privateersman Frederick Marryat
  • They shook themselves and started on again, considerably refreshed, but ravenously hungry.

    Hoof and Claw Charles G. D. Roberts
  • He had had nothing to eat since the preceding noonday, and was ravenously hungry.

British Dictionary definitions for ravenously


famished; starving
rapacious; voracious
Derived Forms
ravenously, adverb
ravenousness, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Old French ravineux, from Latin rapīna plunder, from rapere to seize
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 ravenously



late 14c., "obsessed with plundering, extremely greedy," from Old French ravinos, of people, "rapacious, violent," of water, "swift-flowing," from raviner "to seize," from ravine "violent rush, robbery" (see ravine). Meaning "voracious, very hungry" is from early 15c. Related: Ravenously; ravenousness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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