see also: Raven
  • enPR: rāʹvən, IPA: /ˈɹeɪvən/


  1. (countable) Any of several, generally large and lustrous black species of birds in the genus Corvus, especially the common raven, Corvus corax.
    • c. 1588–1593, [William Shakespeare], The Most Lamentable Romaine Tragedie of Titus Andronicus: […] (First Quarto), London: Printed by Iohn Danter, and are to be sold by Edward White & Thomas Millington, […], published 1594, OCLC 222241046 ↗, [Act II, scene iii] ↗:
      Some ſay that Rauens foſter forlorne children, / The whilſt their owne birds famiſh in their neſts: / Oh be to me though thy hard hart ſay no, / Nothing ſo kinde but ſomething pittiful.
  2. A jet-black colour.
Translations Adjective

raven (not comparable)

  1. Of the color of the raven; jet-black
    raven curls
    raven darkness
    She was a tall, sophisticated, raven-haired beauty.
Translations Pronunciation Noun

raven (plural ravens)

  1. Rapine; rapacity.
  2. Prey; plunder; food obtained by violence.
Translations Translations Verb

raven (ravens, present participle ravening; past and past participle ravened)

  1. (transitive, archaic) To obtain or seize by violence.
  2. (transitive) To devour with great eagerness.
  3. (transitive) To prey on with rapacity.
    The raven is both a scavenger, who ravens a dead animal almost like a vulture, and a bird of prey, who commonly ravens to catch a rodent.
  4. (intransitive) To show rapacity; to be greedy (for something).
    • 1587, Leonard Mascall, The First Booke of Cattell, London, “The nature and qualities of hogges, and also the gouernement thereof,”
      […] because hogs are commonly rauening for their meat, more then other cattel, it is meet therefore to haue them ringed, or else they wil doe much hurt in digging and turning vp corne fieldes […]
    • 1852, Elizabeth Gaskell, “The Old Nurse’s Story” in The Old Nurse’s Story and Other Tales,
      They passed along towards the great hall-door, where the winds howled and ravened for their prey […]
    • 1865, Sabine Baring-Gould, The Book of Were-Wolves, London: Smith, Elder & Co., Chapter 8, p. 114,
      The Greek were-wolf is closely related to the vampire. The lycanthropist falls into a cataleptic trance, during which his soul leaves his body, enters that of a wolf and ravens for blood.
    • 1931, J. B. Fagan, The Improper Duchess, London: Victor Gollancz, 1932, Act 3, p. 237,
      On one side the great temple where you can gather the good harvest—on the other a dirty little scandal that you’ve nosed out to fling to paper scavengers who feed it to their readin’ millions ravening for pornographic dirt.
Related terms
Proper noun
  1. Surname
  2. A female given name for a girl with raven hair, used since the 1970s.
  3. A male given name

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