car·​ni·​vore | \ ˈkär-nə-ˌvȯr How to pronounce carnivore (audio) \

Definition of carnivore

1a : an animal (such as a dog, fox, crocodile, or shark) that feeds primarily or exclusively on animal matter : a carnivorous animal Among the plankton are numerous diminutive but voracious carnivores, including small jellyfishes and comb jellies, saber-toothed creatures called arrowworms or chaetognaths, and a host of crustaceans and small fishes.— Gregory A. Wray As big as a bull elephant, T. rex weighed 15 times as much as the largest carnivores living on land today.— Erik Stokstad Carnivores [=people who eat meat] will appreciate the restaurant's refined version of surf-and-turf: steak au poivre matched with sweet, large prawns.— Matthew DeBord
b : any of an order (Carnivora) of animals that feed primarily or exclusively on animal matter : carnivoran Farther back in their mouths lie some special teeth known as the carnassials. These are the hallmark of the true carnivores, or canivorans—members of a great order of placental mammals, the Carnivora.— Richard H. Tedford
2 : a carnivorous plant the Venus flytrap and other carnivores subsisting on insects

Examples of carnivore in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Neils and other carnivore experts offered a few suggestions on how to be a good neighbor to cougars while recreating or living near wild areas. Lindsey Botts, The Arizona Republic, 14 Jan. 2022 Every carnivore needs a good steak knife, but most tableware sets neglect to include them. Matt Jancer, Wired, 19 Dec. 2021 The nitrogen isotope signals can show if an animal was an herbivore, carnivore or omnivore. Ashley Strickland, CNN, 8 Nov. 2021 Still, the statewide hunter success rate of 32% was comparable to recent seasons and the bear population remains robust, said Randy Johnson, DNR large carnivore specialist. Paul A. Smith, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 31 Oct. 2021 The tracks belonged to a smaller, meeker herbivore no taller than a person, not a ferocious giant carnivore, scientists said in a paper published Thursday in the journal Historical Biology. New York Times, 21 Oct. 2021 The 42-foot-deep (13-meter-deep) chamber includes the fossil remains of predators as well as scratch marks made by some carnivore with an impressive set of claws. Ashley Strickland, CNN, 2 Oct. 2021 The agency received 27,288 applications for the season, which included 10,551 for a preference point-only, said Randy Johnson, DNR large carnivore specialist. Paul A. Smith, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 18 Sep. 2021 Paleontologists have not uncovered any big competing carnivore in the same rocks, fitting the trend that tyrannosaurs only flourished in the absence of competition. Riley Black, Smithsonian Magazine, 8 Sep. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'carnivore.' 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 carnivore

1833, in the meaning defined at sense 1b

History and Etymology for carnivore

ultimately from Latin carnivorus

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The first known use of carnivore was in 1833

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Last Updated

22 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Carnivore.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for carnivore



English Language Learners Definition of carnivore

: an animal that eats meat : a meat eater


car·​ni·​vore | \ ˈkär-nə-ˌvȯr How to pronounce carnivore (audio) \

Kids Definition of carnivore

: an animal that feeds on meat


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