Raven vs ravenous

Photo of author


Raven and ravenous are two words that do not seem to be related, but they are. We will examine the definitions of raven and ravenous, where they came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

The most commonly used definition of the word raven is a large black bird of the corvus family, a type of large crow. However, raven may also be used as a verb to mean to search diligently for prey, to devour something in a greedy fashion. The word raven is derived from the Old French word raviner, which means to pillage. Related words are ravens, ravened, ravening.

Ravenous means extremely hungry. Ravenous is also used figuratively to mean voracious or greedy in other ways, such as intellectually, sexually, etc. The word ravenous is an adjective, and is also derived from the Old French word raviner.


A study published in 2017 in the journal Science revealed that ravens even pre-plan tasks—a behavior long believed unique to humans and their relatives. (National Geographic Magazine)

I was certain that June bugs were ravening beasts of prey that would delight in separating every scrap of flesh from my bones, gulping it all down and then working on the bones. (The Daily Independent)

A photographer captured the devastating moment a hippo slaughtered an impala after it jumped into water trying to escape a pack of ravenous African wild dogs. (The Daily Mail)

I wish I could say that our mother told us amusing stories of when she and her fifteen-year-old sister were recruited to do important work for the war effort, or that our grandmother regaled us with tales of being a Land Army camp cook and chaperone for thirty ravenous, female, teenage farm laborers. (The Sandusky Register)