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[reft] /rɛft/
a simple past tense and past participle of reave1 .


[reev] /riv/
verb (used with object), reaved or reft, reaving. Archaic.
to take away by or as by force; plunder; rob.
Origin of reave1
before 900; Middle English reven, Old English rēafian; cognate with German rauben, Dutch roven to rob


[reev] /riv/
verb (used with object), verb (used without object), reaved or reft, reaving.
Archaic. to rend; break; tear.
1175-1225; Middle English; apparently special use of reave1 (by association with rive) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for reft
Historical Examples
  • He seemed to have reft from her every faculty of thought and feeling save a burning sense of shame.

    The Lamp in the Desert Ethel M. Dell
  • We are now to observe him reft of every admirer, every soother, every friend.

    Sermons Preached at Brighton Frederick W. Robertson
  • The church was an ancient possession of Ely, but was reft from the See by Elizabeth.

  • He then was reft of many woes who bore her in his heart so long a time, when he saw the lovely maid stand forth so glorious.

  • Yes, one by one, Lady Lesbia's illusions were reft from her.

    Phantom Fortune, A Novel M. E. Braddon
  • No children have we to lament, no wives to wail our fall; The traitor's and the spoiler's hand have reft our hearths of all.

  • Shall ye range the pathless forest dreary day and darksome night, reft of all save native virtue, clad in native, inborn might?

    Maha-bharata Anonymous
  • They linger like the remnants of her aboriginal forests, reft indeed of their strength and greatness, but proud even in decay.

    The Purcell Papers Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu
  • Anon Haruest grewe on, and reft from the Grashopper his woonted moysture.

  • His soul had been reft away into merciful dulness, somewhere outside his body.

    The Day of His Youth Alice Brown
British Dictionary definitions for reft


a past tense and past participle of reave1


verb (archaic) reaves, reaving, reaved, reft (rɛft)
to carry off (property, prisoners, etc) by force
(transitive) foll by of. to deprive; strip See also reive
Word Origin
Old English reāfian; related to Old High German roubōn to rob, Old Norse raufa to break open


verb reaves, reaving, reaved, reft (rɛft)
(archaic) to break or tear (something) apart; cleave
Word Origin
C13 reven, probably from reave1 and influenced in meaning by rive
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 reft

past participle of reave.



Old English reafian "to rob (something from someone), plunder, pillage," from Proto-Germanic *raubjon (cf. Old Frisian ravia, Middle Dutch roven, Dutch rooven, Old High German roubon, German rauben), from PIE *reup- "to snatch" (see rip (v.)). Related: Reaved; reaving.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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