From Middle English bireven, from Old English berēafian (to bereave, deprive of, take away, seize, rob, despoil), from Proto-Germanic *biraubōną, and Old English berēofan (to bereave, deprive, rob of); both equivalent to be- +‎ reave. Cognate with Dutch beroven (to rob, deprive, bereave), German berauben (to deprive, rob, bereave), Danish berøve (to deprive of), Norwegian berøve (to deprive), Swedish beröva (to rob), Gothic 𐌱𐌹𐍂𐌰𐌿𐌱𐍉𐌽 (biraubōn).


  • (UK, US) IPA(key): /bɪˈɹiːv/
  • (file)
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  • Rhymes: -iːv


bereave (third-person singular simple present bereaves, present participle bereaving, simple past and past participle bereaved or bereft)

  1. (transitive) To deprive by or as if by violence; to rob; to strip; to benim.
  2. (transitive, obsolete) To take away by destroying, impairing, or spoiling; take away by violence.
  3. (transitive) To deprive of power; prevent.
  4. (transitive) To take away someone or something that is important or close; deprive.
    Death bereaved him of his wife.
    The castaways were bereft of hope.
  5. (intransitive, rare) To destroy life; cut off.

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