From Middle English reven, from Old English rēafian, from Proto-Germanic *raubōną (compare West Frisian rave, German rauben, Danish røve, Swedish röva), from *raubō (compare Old English rēaf (“spoils, booty”)), from *reufaną (“to tear”) (compare Old English past participle rofen (“torn, broken”), Norwegian rjuva), from Proto-Indo-European *Hrewp- (compare Latin rumpere (“to break”), Lithuanian rùpti (“to roughen”), Sanskrit रोपयति (ropayati, “to make suffer”)). See rob and reif.
- (archaic) To plunder, pillage, rob, pirate, or remove.
1985, Anthony Burgess, Kingdom of the Wicked:
- Few of the chroniclers of Nero’s reign have been accurate when relating the situation that obtained between the Emperor and his mother from the time when, reft of her German and Pannonian guards, she lived in a more or less solitary rage on one estate or another.
- 1997, Lawrence R. Schehr, Rendering French Realism ISBN 0804780161, page 18:
- And I for one am not convinced of the innocence of the model: it is as if we let a criminal make up the law as he or she ambles along, reaving right and left.
Alteration of rive by confusion with the above.