can·​ni·​bal·​ism | \ ˈka-nə-bə-ˌli-zəm How to pronounce cannibalism (audio) \

Definition of cannibalism

1 : the usually ritualistic eating of human flesh by a human being
2 : the eating of the flesh of an animal by another animal of the same kind
3 : an act of cannibalizing something

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Other Words from cannibalism

cannibalistic \ ˌka-​nə-​bə-​ˈli-​stik How to pronounce cannibalistic (audio) \ adjective

Examples of cannibalism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The first episode explores the seventeenth-century English settlement at Jamestown, cannibalism and all. Sarah Larson, The New Yorker, "Three Podcasts to Listen to in June," 4 June 2019 A year before the conviction, Gardephe presided over the headline-grabbing related trial of a police officer accused of plotting abductions and cannibalism. Larry Neumeister, The Seattle Times, "Car mechanic gets 7 years in prison for kidnap-killing plot," 24 July 2018 And there are heartwarming touches, despite a plot that is muddied by sci-fi mumbo-jumbo about cannibalism. Michael O’sullivan, kansascity, "‘How to Talk to Girls at Parties’: Offbeat sci-fi love story works," 31 May 2018 This suggests that there were primarily social and cultural reasons people resorted to cannibalism. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Here are your 2018 Ig Nobel Prize winners," 13 Sep. 2018 Raw’s cannibalism gets its main character into all kinds of trouble. Jacob Kastrenakes, The Verge, "New trailers: Detective Pikachu, Toy Story 4, and more," 17 Nov. 2018 So this could be seen as a form of cannibalism by space aliens. Fox News, "Psychologist says Americans are suffering from 'Trump Anxiety Disorder'," 31 July 2018 Later, bones were found that showed signs of cannibalism, and the ships were located at the bottom of the ocean in just the past 10 years. Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "The 7 best TV shows of 2018," 26 Dec. 2018 There’s a really powerful category of recent films about teenage girls coming of age through cannibalism, vampirism, or other body-mutating horrors. Jacob Kastrenakes, The Verge, "New trailers: Detective Pikachu, Toy Story 4, and more," 17 Nov. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cannibalism.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of cannibalism

1634, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for cannibalism

Last Updated

17 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for cannibalism

The first known use of cannibalism was in 1634

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More Definitions for cannibalism


can·​ni·​bal·​ism | \ -bə-ˌliz-əm How to pronounce cannibalism (audio) \

Medical Definition of cannibalism

1 : the usually ritualistic eating of human flesh by a human being
2 : the eating of the flesh or the eggs of any animal by its own kind
3 : the pecking and tearing of the live flesh of its own members in a domestic poultry flock — compare pecking order
4 : oral sadism

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More from Merriam-Webster on cannibalism

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with cannibalism

Spanish Central: Translation of cannibalism

Nglish: Translation of cannibalism for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of cannibalism for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about cannibalism

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