apex predator

noun

Definition of apex predator

ecology
: a predator at the top of a food chain that is not preyed upon by any other animal The archipelago also harbors some of the highest densities in the world of so-called apex predators, the sharks, groupers and jacks who have no natural predators of their own but whose numbers have been depleted elsewhere by fishermen.— Christopher Pala, New York Times, 19 Dec. 2006 As apex predators, brown bears are secure throughout most of their range, but habitat loss not only threatens populations, but has led to an increase in human/bear encounters.— Ryan Elswick, Myrtle Beach (South Carolina) Sun-News, 18 Oct. 2001

Love words?

You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that’s only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.

Start your free trial today and get unlimited access to America's largest dictionary, with:

  • More than 250,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
  • Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
  • Advanced search features
  • Ad free!

First Known Use of apex predator

1977, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about apex predator

Time Traveler for apex predator

Time Traveler

The first known use of apex predator was in 1977

See more words from the same year

Statistics for apex predator

Cite this Entry

“Apex predator.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/apex%20predator. Accessed 10 Aug. 2020.

Comments on apex predator

What made you want to look up apex predator? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt painting a young scholar and his tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!