Meaning of “rape” in the English Dictionary

"rape" in British English

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rapeverb [ I or T ]

uk /reɪp/ us /reɪp/

B2 to force someone to have sex when they are unwilling, using violence or threatening behaviour:

She was pulled from the car and raped.
It's difficult to understand what causes a man to rape.

More examples

  • She was raped as a young girl.
  • She said that he'd raped her.
  • He had raped her repeatedly during this period.
  • He raped and murdered several women.
  • She does a lot of counselling with women who've been raped and abused.


uk /reɪp/ us /reɪp/

rape noun (SEX CRIME)

B2 [ C or U ] (an example of) the crime of forcefully having sex with someone against their wishes:

He had committed several rapes.
He was convicted of rape.

More examples

  • The judge was reviled in the newspapers for his opinions on rape.
  • We're hearing reports of the systematic rape and torture of prisoners.
  • Some of the most disturbed children had witnessed really traumatic things, such as rape and murder.
  • Why do so many rapes go unreported?
  • The woman alleged rape, but Reeves insisted it was consensual.

(Definition of “rape” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"rape" in American English

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rapeverb [ T ]

us /reɪp/

to force someone to have sex when he or she is unwilling

Rape also means to damage or destroy something by using it in an unsuitable way:

Developers are raping the countryside.
noun [ C/U ] us /reɪp/

[ U ] He was convicted of rape.

(Definition of “rape” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)