General English


  • The plant, Brassica napus, from which rapeseed is obtained. Some varieties known as salad rape are used in the west as a source of salad leaves. It is used as a vegetable in northern China where 3 types, broccoli rape (probably the same as broccoli raab), heart of rape and winter rape are used.


  • noun the notifiable offence of forcing a person to have sexual intercourse without their consent
  • verb to force a person to have sexual intercourse without their consent


  • noun an act of forcing a woman to have sex


  • the skins and stalks of grapes after their juice has been extracted for use in winemaking

Origin & History of “rape”

English has three distinct words rape, only two of them now in general usage. The commonest, ‘violate sexually’ (14th c.), comes via Anglo-Norman raper from Latin rapere ‘seize by force’, a generous contributor to English vocabulary which has also given us rapid, rapt, rapture, etc. Rape the plant-name (14th c.) was borrowed from Latin rāpa or rāpum. like its Latin ancestor, it originally denoted ‘turnip’, but since the 16th century it has come to be used exclusively for another plant of the brassica family, grown for its oil-rich seeds. (The -rabi of kohlrabi also comes ultimately from Latin rāpa; and Italian dialect raviolo, a diminutive of rava ‘turnip’, has given English ravioli (19th c.).) The oldest rape (11th c.) is now only of historical interest. It denoted any of the six administrative areas into which Sussex was once divided. It is the same word ultimately as rope, and etymologically denotes the partitioning off of land with rope.