The Distinction Between Bereaved and Bereft

May 30, 2024

The Difference Between Bereaved and Bereft

History: Both words come from Old English, but they have different origins. “Bereaved” comes from the Old English word “bereafian,” which means “to deprive.” On the other hand, “bereft” comes from the Old English word “bereftan,” which means “to rob.”

How to Use them: The word “bereaved” is used to describe someone who has lost a loved one through death. On the other hand, “bereft” is used to describe someone who is deprived or lacking something essential or important.

Trick to Remember the Difference: Think of the “a” in “bereaved” standing for “absence” to remember it’s used when someone is missing due to death. Whereas, “bereft” has an “f” like “forgot” to help you remember it means lacking something.

Examples of Usage:

1. She felt deeply bereaved after her grandmother passed away.
2. The entire community came together to support the bereaved family.
3. The bereaved widow mourned her husband’s death.
4. We offered our condolences to the bereaved parents.
5. The funeral service aimed to provide comfort to the bereaved.

1. She felt bereft of happiness after the breakup.
2. The poor child looked bereft of joy without any toys to play with.
3. He felt bereft of hope after failing the exam.
4. The abandoned puppy appeared lonely and bereft.
5. The old man felt bereft of energy as he struggled to walk.

Summary of Usage: Remember, “bereaved” is for when someone has lost a loved one to death, and “bereft” is for when someone is lacking something important. So, think of “a” in bereaved as meaning “absence,” and “f” in bereft as “forgot” to help you remember the difference.