verb can·ni·bal·ize \ˈka-nə-bə-ˌlīz\

: to remove parts from a machine, car, etc., to repair or build another one


Full Definition of CANNIBALIZE

transitive verb
a :  to take salvageable parts from (as a disabled machine) for use in building or repairing another machine
b :  to make use of (a part taken from one thing) in building, repairing, or creating something else
:  to deprive of an essential part or element in creating or sustaining another facility or enterprise <the energy system has begun cannibalizing the economic system it is supposed to fuel — Barry Commoner>
:  to use or draw on material of (as another writer or an earlier work) <a biography that cannibalizes previous biographies>
:  to take (sales) away from an existing product by selling or being sold as a similar but new product usually from the same manufacturer; also :  to affect (as an existing product) adversely by cannibalizing sales
intransitive verb
:  to practice cannibalism
:  to cannibalize one unit for the sake of another of the same kind
can·ni·bal·i·za·tion \ˌka-nə-bə-lə-ˈzā-shən\ noun


  1. He cannibalized one washing machine to fix another.
  2. Many parts of the engine were cannibalized from older cars.

First Known Use of CANNIBALIZE



accessorize, acclimatize, actualize, aerobicize, aestheticize, Africanize, allegorize, alphabetize, analogize, anatomize, anesthetize, animalize, annualize, antagonize, anthologize, anticlockwise, apologize, apostatize, apostrophize, arabicize, aromatize, automatize, bureaucratize, capitalize, categorize, catheterize, catholicize, characterize, collectivize, commercialize, commoditize, communalize, computerize, conservatize, containerize, contrariwise, conveyorize, cosmeticize, counterclockwise, criminalize, cross-fertilize, cut down to size, decentralize, decolonize, de-emphasize, de-energize, defeminize, deformalize, deglamorize, dehumanize, deionize, demagnetize, demobilize, democratize, demoralize, denationalize, deodorize, depersonalize, depolarize, depressurize, desensitize, destabilize, destigmatize, detribalize, devitalize, diabolize, digitalize, disenfranchise, disorganize, economize, emblematize, emotionalize, epitomize, epoxidize, eroticize, eternalize, evangelize, extemporize, externalize, familiarize, fanaticize, fictionalize, floor exercise, fool's paradise, formularize, free enterprise, gelatinize, generalize, geologize, Hispanicize, historicize, homogenize, hospitalize, hypothesize, idealize, illegalize, immobilize, immortalize, impersonalize, Indianize, indigenize, infantilize, initialize, internalize, italicize, legitimize, liberalize, literalize, lobotomize, lysogenize, macadamize, marginalize, metabolize, metastasize, militarize, mineralize, monopolize, mythologize, nationalize, naturalize, parenthesize, philosophize, poeticize, politicize, popularize, prioritize, proselytize, radicalize, reorganize, revitalize, ritualize, romanticize, secularize, self-fertilize, sensualize, sexualize, sovietize, subjectivize, suburbanize, subvocalize, systematize, temporalize, theologize, traditionalize, trivialize, ventriloquize, visualize


Next Word in the Dictionary: canniballyPrevious Word in the Dictionary: cannibalityAll Words Near: cannibalize
How to use a word that (literally) drives some people nuts.
Test your vocab with our fun, fast game
Ailurophobia, and 9 other unusual fears