c. 1300, ravishen, "to seize (someone) by violence, carry away (a person, especially a woman)," from Old French raviss-, present-participle stem of ravir "to seize, take away hastily," from Vulgar Latin *rapire, from Latin rapere "to seize and carry off, carry away suddenly, hurry away" (see rapid). Since the earliest uses in English "sometimes implying subsequent violation" [OED]; the meaning transferred "commit rape upon" is recorded by mid-15c. In Middle English also "to plagiarize; to transport (someone) mentally into an ecstasy." Related: Ravished; ravishing.
updated on May 03, 2021