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From Middle English bereven, from Old English berēafian (to bereave, deprive of, take away, seize, rob, despoil) 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 berove (to deprive), Swedish beröva (to rob).



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; rob; strip.
    • William Shakespeare
      Madam, you have bereft me of all words.
    • Tickell
      bereft of him who taught me how to sing
  2. (transitive, obsolete) To take away by destroying, impairing, or spoiling; take away by violence.
    • William Shakespeare
      All your interest in those territories
      Is utterly bereft you; all is lost.
    • Marlowe
      [] shall move you to bereave my life.
  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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