ravaging vs ravishing vs ravenous :

ravaging or ravishing or ravenous

To ravage is to pillage, sack, or devastate. The only time “ravaging” is properly used is in phrases like “when the pirates had finished ravaging the town, they turned to ravishing the women.” Which brings us to “ravish": meaning to rape, or rob violently. A trailer court can be ravaged by a storm (nothing is stolen, but a lot of damage is done) but not ravished. The crown jewels of Ruritania can be ravished (stolen using violence) without being ravaged (damaged). To confuse matters, people began back in the fourteenth century to speak metaphorically of their souls being “ravished” by intense spiritual or esthetic experiences. Thus we speak of a “ravishing woman” (the term is rarely applied to men) today not because she literally rapes men who look at her but because her devastating beauty penetrates their hearts in an almost violent fashion. Despite contemporary society’s heightened sensitivity about rape, we still remain (perhaps fortunately) unconscious of many of the transformations of the root meaning in

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  • n  plundering with excessive damage and destruction
  • v  make a pillaging or destructive raid on (a place), as in wartimes
  • v  cause extensive destruction or ruin utterly
  • s  ruinously destructive and wasting
    a ravaging illness

  • v  force (someone) to have sex against their will
  • v  hold spellbound
  • s  stunningly beautiful
    a ravishing blonde

  • s  extremely hungry
    a ravenous boy
  • s  devouring or craving food in great quantities
    ravenous as wolves
News & Articles

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    June 16, 2013 - Los Angeles Times

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    When you're trying to lose weight, it can be hard to stick to a lower-calorie menu if you're feeling ravenous the whole time.
    June 9, 2013 - Erie Times-News