ravage


ravage
ravage, devastate, waste, sack, pillage, despoil, spoliate are comparable when they mean to lay waste or bare by acts of violence (as plundering or destroying).
Ravage implies violent, severe, and often cumulative destruction accomplished typically by depredations, invasions, raids, storms, or floods
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four major disasters had ravaged the country— Leakey

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the psychic disease which ravaged Europe as mercilessly as the Spanish influenza-Day Lewis

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an Indian hunt was never a slaughter. They ravaged neither the rivers nor the forest— Gather

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Devastate stresses the ruin and desolation which follow upon ravaging; it suggests eradication of buildings, of forests, and of crops by or as if by demolition or burning
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behind him were the ruins of a city, shattered, devastated, crumbled piles of concrete and stone that glowed— Styron

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a succession of cruel wars had devastated Europe— Macaulay

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had devastated the neighboring county to get timber— Ellis

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Waste may be a close synonym for devastate but it tends to suggest a less complete destruction or desolation, produced more gradually or less violently
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he fell suddenly on the Nervii with four legions, seized their cattle, wasted their country— Froude

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the broad gray summit is barren and desolate-looking . . . wasted by ages of gnawing storms— Muir

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Sack basically suggests the acts of a victorious army entering a town that has been captured and stripping it of all its possessions of value by looting or destruction
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we sacked the city after nine months' siegeHey wood

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the retreating Federals sacked and burned as they went— Amer. Guide Series: La.

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The term may be extended to other than military activity but consistently retains the notion of stripping of valuables and usually of destruction
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a crowd sympathetic with the employees sacked the newspaper's offices— Dilliard

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men . . . who'll sack a railroad or lay siege to a corporation with the idea they're ordained to grab the other fellow's property— Everybody's Mag.

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Pillage stresses ruthless plundering such as is characteristic of an invading or victorious army, but it carries a weaker implication of devastation than sack
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he pillaged many Spanish towns, and took rich prizes— Fuller d. 1661

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the houses, first pillaged, were then fired— Prescott

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In nonmilitary use pillage still implies ruthlessness but it carries a stronger implication of appropriation to oneself of something that belongs to another
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as by fleecing, plagiarizing, or robbing

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humbugged by their doctors, pillaged by their tradesmen— Shaw

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libraries pillaged to supply grocers with paper— Schultz

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Despoil, like sack, implies a stripping of valuables
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the English buccaneers . . . fell upon their cities and despoiled them— Haskin

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but it does not so often refer to a violent ransacking for booty; it more often suggests a pillaging, sometimes under a guise of legality, or a heedless or inadvertent destruction
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magnificent stands of pine . . . despoiled by naval-stores operators and loggers— Amer. Guide Series: Fla.

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a law which restored ... an immense domain of which they had been despoiledMacaulay

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the despoiling of the English monasteries in the 16th century

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despoiled of innocence, of faith, of bliss— Milton

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Spoliate is chiefly a legal term; in its meaning it comes close to despoil and is particularly applicable to destruction inflicted on a neutral, a noncombatant, or a victim of piracy
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from the ages, from the barbarians, the land has been burnt and spoliatedRichard Llewellyn

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or, in more general use, when the gaining of spoils by means of exactions, graft, or various venal practices is suggested
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the Tweed Ring was charged with spoliating the people of New York City

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Analogous words: *destroy, demolish, raze: plunder, loot, *rob: *ruin, wreck: invade, *trespass, encroach

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • ravage — [ ravaʒ ] n. m. • 1355; de ravir (1o) 1 ♦ Vx Action de ravager; dommage, dégât important causé par des hommes avec violence et soudaineté. ⇒ dévastation, pillage. Le ravage d une région par des pillards. ⇒ 2. sac. « Il fallait que les ravages des …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • ravagé — ravage [ ravaʒ ] n. m. • 1355; de ravir (1o) 1 ♦ Vx Action de ravager; dommage, dégât important causé par des hommes avec violence et soudaineté. ⇒ dévastation, pillage. Le ravage d une région par des pillards. ⇒ 2. sac. « Il fallait que les… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Ravage — means to devastate or destroy something, wreaking destruction, ransacking.It may also refer to one of the following: *Ravage 2099, a fictional superhero, set in the far future, from Marvel Comics *Ravage (Marvel Comics), a fictional villain at… …   Wikipedia

  • Ravage — Rav age (r[a^]v [asl]j; 48), n. [F., fr. (assumed) L. rapagium, rapaticum, fr. rapere to carry off by force, to ravish. See {Rapacious}, {Ravish}.] Desolation by violence; violent ruin or destruction; devastation; havoc; waste; as, the ravage of… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • ravage — [rav′ij] n. [Fr < OFr ravir: see RAVISH] 1. the act or practice of violently destroying; destruction 2. [usually pl.] ruin; devastating damage [the ravages of time] vt. ravaged, ravaging [Fr ravager < RAVAGE the n.] …   English World dictionary

  • Ravage — Rav age, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Ravaged} (r[a^]v [asl]jd); p. pr. & vb. n. {Ravaging} (r[a^]v [asl]*j[i^]ng).] [F. ravager. See {Ravage}, n.] To lay waste by force; to desolate by violence; to commit havoc or devastation upon; to spoil; to plunder; …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • ravage — (v.) 1610s, from Fr. ravager lay waste, devastate, from O.Fr. ravage destruction, especially by flood, 14c., from ravir to take away hastily (see RAVISH (Cf. ravish)). Related: Ravaged; ravaging …   Etymology dictionary

  • ravage — Ravage. s. m. Ruine, degast qui se fait avec violence & avec rapidité. Les pluyes, les vents, les glaces ont fait de grands ravages. les troupes ennemies font d horribles ravages, font ravage en ce pays là. les sangliers, les bestes font des… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • Ravage — (franz., spr. wāsch ), Verheerung …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Ravage — (frz., spr. wahsch ), Verheerung …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon


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