verb \ˈska-vənj, -vinj\

of an animal : to search for food to eat

: to search through waste, junk, etc., for something that can be saved or used


Full Definition of SCAVENGE

transitive verb
a (1) :  to remove (as dirt or refuse) from an area (2) :  to clean away dirt or refuse from :  cleanse <scavenge a street>
b :  to feed on (carrion or refuse)
a :  to remove (burned gases) from the cylinder of an internal combustion engine after a working stroke
b :  to remove (as an undesirable constituent) from a substance or region by chemical or physical means
c :  to clean and purify (molten metal) by taking up foreign elements in chemical union
:  to salvage from discarded or refuse material; also :  to salvage usable material from
intransitive verb
:  to work or act as a scavenger

Examples of SCAVENGE

  1. Rats scavenged in the trash.
  2. The bears scavenged the woods for food.
  3. He scavenged the town dump for automobile parts.

Origin of SCAVENGE

back-formation from scavenger
First Known Use: circa 1644


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