AskDefine | Define rapine

Dictionary Definition

rapine n : the act of despoiling a country in warfare [syn: rape]

User Contributed Dictionary



From and < noun rapīna, from verb rapere.


  1. The seizure of one's property by force; plunder.

Related terms


seizure of one's property by force


  • 2000 The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language - Fourth Edition

Extensive Definition

Daniel Rapine (1768 - 1826) was the second mayor of Washington, D.C., elected by the city council in June 1812 and serving for one year.
Rapine was a bookseller and printer, moving to Washington from his birthplace of Philadelphia to open a bookstore in the new capital. He served on the City Council from 1802 to 1806 and then again in 1812, when Congress restructured city ordinances to create a council of aldermen for the city, which will then elect the mayor. Both Rapine and the incumbent (appointed) mayor, Robert Brent, sought the office from the council, who voted to a tie between the two candidates; the matter was settled by a coin toss, which gave the office to Rapine.
At that time, the mayor was an employee of the Federal government, with power to levy only very small taxes on the citizens of Washington City. Rapine raised money in two significant acts: by addressing the Congress and asking for appropriations for the city — especially after the War of 1812 was declared, when he received federal money to fund the city's defenses — and by creating a city lottery, whose proceeds went to the creation of two schools and a public water works.
Rapine returned to the bookselling business after his term as mayor, although he was also appointed a justice of the peace for Washington County by President James Madison. He served as Postmaster of the House of Representatives in the 1820s, until his death in May 1826.


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