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”).
- (transitive) To deprive by or as if by violence; rob; strip.
- (transitive) To take away by destroying, impairing, or spoiling; take away by violence.
- (transitive) To deprive of power; prevent.
- (transitive) To take away someone or something important or close; deprive.
- Death bereaved him of his wife.
- The castaways were bereft of hope.
- (intransitive, rare) To destroy life; cut off.