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

  • n. A large bird (Corvus corax) having black plumage and a croaking cry.
  • adj. Black and shiny: raven tresses.
  • transitive v. To consume greedily; devour.
  • transitive v. To seek or seize as prey or plunder.
  • intransitive v. To seek or seize prey or plunder.
  • intransitive v. To eat ravenously.
  • n. Variant of ravin.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A common name for several, generally large and lustrous black species of birds in the genus Corvus, especially the common raven, Corvus corax.
  • adj. Of the color of the raven; jet-black
  • n. Rapine; rapacity.
  • n. Prey; plunder; food obtained by violence.
  • v. To obtain or seize by violence.
  • v. To devour with great eagerness.
  • v. To prey with rapacity; to be greedy; to show rapacity.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Of the color of the raven; jet black
  • n. A large black passerine bird (Corvus corax), similar to the crow, but larger, and has a harsh, loud call. It is native of the northern parts of Europe, Asia and America, and is noted for its sagacity.
  • n. Rapine; rapacity.
  • n. Prey; plunder; food obtained by violence.
  • intransitive v. To prey with rapacity; to be greedy; to show rapacity.
  • transitive v. To obtain or seize by violence.
  • transitive v. To devour with great eagerness.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A bird of the larger species of the genus Corvus, having the feathers of the throat lanceolate and distinct from one another.
  • n. A kind of fish. See sea-raven and Hemitripteridæ.
  • Black as a raven; evenly and glossily or lustrously black: as, raven locks.
  • To seize with rapacity, especially food; prey upon; ravage. See ravined.
  • To subject to rapine or ravage; obtain or take possession of by violence.
  • To devour with great eagerness; eat with voracity; swallow greedily.
  • To prey with rapacity; show rapacity.
  • n. Plunder; rapine; robbery; rapacity; furious violence.
  • n. Plunder; prey; food obtained with rapacity.
  • n. Applied in Australia to one of the larger crows, Corvus coronoides.

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

  • v. prey on or hunt for
  • v. feed greedily
  • v. eat greedily
  • v. obtain or seize by violence
  • n. large black bird with a straight bill and long wedge-shaped tail


Middle English, from Old English hræfn.
From Middle English ravin, raven, rapine, plunder, prey; see ravin.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old English hræfn, from Proto-Germanic *hrabnaz (compare Dutch raaf, German Rabe, Danish ravn), from Proto-Indo-European *ḱorh₂- (compare Middle Irish crú, Latin corvus, Lithuanian šárka ("magpie"), Serbo-Croatian svrȁka ‘id.’, Ancient Greek κόραξ (kórax)), from *ḱer, *ḱor (compare Latin crepare ‘to creak, crack’, Sanskrit kṛ́patē). (Wiktionary)
From Old French raviner ("rush, seize by force"), itself from ravine ("rapine"), from Latin rapina ("plundering, loot"), itself from rapere ("seize, plunder, abduct") (Wiktionary)



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