car·​ni·​vore ˈkär-nə-ˌvȯr How to pronounce carnivore (audio)
: 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
: 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
: a carnivorous plant
the Venus flytrap and other carnivores subsisting on insects

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Scientists have seen deer pacing back and forth along the wall, and carnivores trying and failing to get through. Sarah Lapidus, The Arizona Republic, 26 May 2023 Based off of existing methods that determine the diets of modern species, the new technique assesses the chemical composition of an individual Neanderthal’s tooth enamel to determine whether or not that individual was a carnivore. Sam Walters, Discover Magazine, 20 Oct. 2022 For that project, the rangers are collecting scat samples and recording where each was found in the park and the depth of the snow at that location—all to be sent to Prugh for DNA analysis needed to build a database of carnivore populations and their range within the park. Bailey Berg, Smithsonian Magazine, 15 Dec. 2020 Contreras-Díaz—a mammologist at the National Autonomous University of Mexico—had hoped to use the observations to map where the two carnivores were found in Mexico. Bykatherine Irving,, 2 May 2023 Predatory attacks, in which a carnivore tries to kill for food, were most heavily concentrated in India, home to 72 percent of 1,696 total such incidents. Brian Handwerk, Smithsonian Magazine, 31 Jan. 2023 Just about all carnivore dinosaurs, from the two-pound Microraptor to nine-ton T. rex, belong to the same group: the mostly two-legged, three-toed theropods. Kate Golembiewski, Discover Magazine, 18 July 2022 Plants couldn’t photosynthesize, forests collapsed, herbivores died, carnivores followed. Steve Brusatte, Scientific American, 1 June 2022 Interviews with owners and staff revealed that the farms were occasionally visited by wild martens, weasel-like carnivores. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, 21 Apr. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'carnivore.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


ultimately from Latin carnivorus

First Known Use

1833, in the meaning defined at sense 1b

Time Traveler
The first known use of carnivore was in 1833

Dictionary Entries Near carnivore

Cite this Entry

“Carnivore.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition


car·​ni·​vore ˈkär-nə-ˌvō(ə)r How to pronounce carnivore (audio)
: a flesh-eating animal
especially : any of an order of flesh-eating mammals
: a plant that traps and digests insects
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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