Definitions

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

  • intransitive verb To seize and carry off forcibly.
  • intransitive verb To deprive (one) of something; bereave.
  • intransitive verb To rob, plunder, or pillage.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To take away by force or stealth; carry off as booty; take violently; purloin, especially in a foray: with a thing as object.
  • To take away; remove; abstract; draw off.
  • To rob; plunder; dispossess; bereave: with a person as object.
  • To tear up, as the rafters or roof of a house.
  • To ravel; pull to pieces, as a textile fabric.
  • To practise plundering or pillaging; carry off stolen property.

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

  • transitive verb To take away by violence or by stealth; to snatch away; to rob; to despoil; to bereave. [Archaic].

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

  • verb archaic To plunder, pillage, rob, pirate, or remove.
  • verb archaic To split, tear, break apart.

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

  • verb steal goods; take as spoils

Etymologies

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

[Middle English reven, to plunder, from Old English rēafian; see reup- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Middle English reven, from Old English rēafian, from Proto-Germanic *raubōnan (compare West Frisian rave, German rauben, Danish røve), from *raubō (compare Old English rēaf 'spoils, booty'), from *reufanan 'to tear' (compare Old English past participle rofen 'torn, broken', Norwegian rjuva), from Proto-Indo-European *Hréup-e/o- (compare Latin rumpere ("to break"), Lithuanian rùpti 'to roughen', Sanskrit ropayati 'to make suffer'). See rob.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Alteration of rive by confusion with the above.

Examples

  • Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Duke University, 1956, p. 274; and Carter Papers: An Inventory .... ") [7] The word" reave "meant to rob or strip at Carter's time.

    Letter from Robert Carter to [Robert Jones, October 18, 1728]

  • Lest for her like of garden scents he reave her,577

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night

  • What can I say, h-dog: I'm just not as impressed as you are by the guy who took his pique out on the poor innocent fig tree, and told me he came bringing not peace, but the sword, to reave apart families.

    Muslims praying in the cathedral.

  • And he can be very cavalier about rhythm, especially the fiery accents that make a dance out of 'Wilt thou unkind thus reave me'.

    Songs From The Labyrinth

  • And he can be very cavalier about rhythm, especially the fiery accents that make a dance out of 'Wilt thou unkind thus reave me'.

    Songs From The Labyrinth

  • And he can be very cavalier about rhythm, especially the fiery accents that make a dance out of 'Wilt thou unkind thus reave me'.

    Songs From The Labyrinth

  • No queenly way for woman to practise, though peerless she, that the weaver-of-peace 76 from warrior dear by wrath and lying his life should reave!

    Beowulf, translated by Francis Gummere

  • No queenly way for woman to practise, though peerless she, that the weaver-of-peace 76 from warrior dear by wrath and lying his life should reave!

    Beowulf

  • No queenly way for woman to practise, though peerless she, that the weaver-of-peace 76 from warrior dear by wrath and lying his life should reave!

    Beowulf, translated by Francis Gummere

  • This may not work, he cautioned himself I can but try to reave the power from the humans.

    Inconstant Star

Comments

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  • One day I saw an old frayed but strong rope on this path, cast away on a tree stump, and I thought: yes, that is the awful end of such thoughts. Had I actually been tempted to kill myself? Aghast at the thought I took the rope back and reaved it up for use.

    - Malcolm Lowry, The Forest Path to the Spring

    July 13, 2008