to work havoc upon; damage or mar by ravages:a face ravaged by grief.
to work havoc; do ruinous damage.
havoc; ruinous damage:the ravages of war.
devastating or destructive action.
French, Middle French, equivalent. to rav(ir) to ravish + -age -age
1.See corresponding entry in Unabridged ruin, despoil, plunder, pillage, sack. Ravage,devastate,laywaste all refer, in their literal application, to the wholesale destruction of a countryside by an invading army (or something comparable). Laywaste has remained the closest to the original meaning of destruction of land:The invading army laid waste the towns along the coast.But ravage and devastate are used in reference to other types of violent destruction and may also have a purely figurative application. Ravage is often used of the results of epidemics:The Black Plague ravaged 14th-century Europe; and even of the effect of disease or suffering on the human countenance:a face ravaged by despair.Devastate, in addition to its concrete meaning (vast areas devastated by bombs), may be used figuratively:a devastating remark.
4.See corresponding entry in Unabridged ruin, waste, desolation.
1.See corresponding entry in Unabridged build, repair.