Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.

WORD ORIGIN

late 14c., "deprive (a maiden) of her virginity," also "excerpt the best parts of (a book)," from Old French desflorer (13c., Modern French déflorer) "to deflower (a garden); to take the virginity of," from Late Latin deflorare, from de- (see de-) + flos "flower" (see flora). Notion is "to strip of flowers," hence "to ravish," which is the oldest sense in English.