English

Definition of A Rake's Progress from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

 

A Rake's Progress

 
BrE
 
; NAmE
 
 
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a series of eight paintings (1733-5) by William Hogarth telling the story of a rake (= a fashionable young man who leads a wild and immoral life) who finally dies in Bedlam (= a hospital in London for the mentally ill). Hogarth later made the paintings into a popular series of engravings (= cheap printed copies). The phrase 'rake's progress' is still used about somebody ruining their life by wild and immoral behaviour.