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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
  • But when you have skied all day you are ravenously hungry, and everything tasted wonderful.
  • He wrote, read ravenously and took daily walks in his garden.
  • He notes that when diabetics get too much insulin, their blood sugar drops and they get ravenously hungry.
  • He picks up the meat in his fingers and devours it ravenously.
  • He read ravenously and widely, excelling in every field from drama and history to biology and mathematics.
  • The recruits were hot and tired and weary when they reached the station, and ravenously hungry.
  • On discovering the buckwheat they threw off all fear and feed ravenously.
  • When found she eat se ravenously that a physician stepped further supplies.
  • The ice treatment was kept up for several hours before the bear revived, and then he ate ravenously.
  • The poor people were nearly starved, and when food was given them they ate ravenously.
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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