Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To bring heavy destruction on; devastate.
  • intransitive verb To pillage; sack.
  • intransitive verb To wreak destruction.
  • noun The act or practice of pillaging or destroying.
  • noun Destruction, damage, or harm.
  • noun Destructive or harmful effects.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To desolate violently; lay waste, as by force, storm, etc.; commit havoc on; devastate; pillage; despoil.
  • Synonyms To plunder, waste. See the noun.
  • noun Desolation or destruction wrought by the violent action of men or beasts, or by physical or moral causes; devastation; havoc; waste; ruin: as, the ravage of a lion; the ravages of fire or tempest; the ravages of an invading army; the ravages of passion or grief.
  • noun Synonyms Pillage, plunder, spoliation, despoilment. These words all apply not to the treatment of people directly, but to the destruction or appropriation of property.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun Desolation by violence; violent ruin or destruction; devastation; havoc; waste
  • transitive verb To lay waste by force; to desolate by violence; to commit havoc or devastation upon; to spoil; to plunder; to consume.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb transitive To devastate or destroy something
  • verb transitive To pillage or sack something, to lay waste to something
  • verb intransitive To wreak destruction
  • noun Grievous damage or havoc
  • noun Depredation or devastation

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb cause extensive destruction or ruin utterly
  • verb make a pillaging or destructive raid on (a place), as in wartimes
  • noun (usually plural) a destructive action

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[French ravager, from Old French, to uproot, from ravir, to ravish; see ravish.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From French ravage ("ravage, havoc, spoil"), from ravir ("to bear away suddenly"), from Latin rapere ("to snatch, seize"), akin to Ancient Greek ἁρπάζω (arpazō, "to seize")

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