- An example of bereave is when a parent dies.
- An example of bereave is to tell someone an upsetting story about their family.
transitive verb-·reaved′ or -·reft′ , -·reav′ing
- to deprive or rob; dispossess: now usually in the pp. bereft: she was bereft of hope or happiness
- to leave in a sad or lonely state, as by loss or death
- Obs. to take away by force
Origin of bereaveMiddle English bireven from Old English bereafian, to deprive, rob from be-, be- + reafian, akin to German rauben: see reave
transitive verbbe·reaved, or be·reft be·reav·ing, be·reaves
- To take a loved one from (a person), especially by death: “Cry aloud for the man who is dead, for the woman and children bereaved” ( Alan Paton )
- To take something valuable or necessary from (a person or thing): “He was subject to fits, which bereaved him … of his senses” ( David Hume )
Origin of bereaveMiddle English bireven to deprive from Old English berēafian ; see reup- in Indo-European roots.
(third-person singular simple present bereaves, present participle bereaving, simple past and past participle bereaved or bereft)
- To deprive by or as if by violence; rob; strip.
- To take away by destroying, impairing, or spoiling; take away by violence.
- To deprive of power; prevent.
- 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.
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 berove (“to deprive of”), Norwegian berove (“to deprive”), Swedish beröva (“to rob”).