adjective, raw·er, raw·est.

  1. uncooked, as articles of food: a raw carrot.
  2. not having undergone processes of preparing, dressing, finishing, refining, or manufacture: raw cotton.
  3. unnaturally or painfully exposed, as flesh, by removal of the skin or natural integument.
  4. painfully open, as a sore or wound.
  5. crude in quality or character; not tempered or refined by art or taste: raw humor.
  6. ignorant, inexperienced, or untrained: a raw recruit.
  7. brutally or grossly frank: a raw portrayal of human passions.
  8. brutally harsh or unfair: a raw deal; receiving raw treatment from his friends.
  9. disagreeably damp and chilly, as the weather or air: a raw, foggy day at the beach.
  10. not diluted, as alcoholic spirits: raw whiskey.
  11. unprocessed or unevaluated: raw data.


  1. a sore or irritated place, as on the flesh.
  2. unrefined sugar, oil, etc.
  1. in the raw,
    1. in the natural, uncultivated, or unrefined state: nature in the raw.
    2. Informal.in the nude; naked: sunbathing in the raw.


  1. (of food) not cookedraw onion
  2. (prenominal) in an unfinished, natural, or unrefined state; not treated by manufacturing or other processesraw materials for making steel; raw brick
  3. (of an edge of material) unhemmed; liable to fray
  4. (of the skin, a wound, etc) having the surface exposed or abraded, esp painfully
  5. ignorant, inexperienced, or immaturea raw recruit
  6. (prenominal) not selected or modifiedraw statistics
  7. frank or realistica raw picture of the breakdown of a marriage
  8. (of spirits) undiluted
  9. mainly US coarse, vulgar, or obscene
  10. mainly US recently done; freshraw paintwork
  11. (of the weather) harshly cold and damp
  12. informal unfair; unjust (esp in the phrase a raw deal)


  1. the raw British informal a sensitive pointhis criticism touched me on the raw
  2. in the raw
    1. informalwithout clothes; naked
    2. in a natural or unmodified statelife in the raw

Old English hreaw “uncooked, raw,” from Proto-Germanic *khrawaz (cf. Old Norse hrar, Danish raa, Old Saxon hra, Middle Dutch rau, Dutch rauw, Old High German hrawer, German roh), from PIE root *kreue- (1) “raw flesh” (cf. Sanskrit kravih “raw flesh,” krura- “bloody, raw, hard;” Greek kreas “flesh;” Latin crudus “not cooked,” cruor “thick blood;” Old Irish cru, Lithuanian kraujas, Old Church Slavonic kruvi “blood;” Old English hrot “thick fluid, serum”).

Meaning “tender, sore” is from late 14c.; of persons, “inexperienced” from 1560s; of weather, “damp and chilly” first recorded 1540s. Related: Rawly; rawness. Raw material is from 1796, with sense of “in a rudimental condition, unfinished.” Phrase in the raw “naked” (1921) is from the raw “exposed flesh,” attested from 1823. Raw deal “harsh treatment” attested by 1893.


  1. Having subcutaneous tissue exposed.
  2. Inflamed; sore.

In addition to the idiom beginning with raw

  • raw deal

also see:

  • in the altogether (raw)
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