car·​ri·​on ˈker-ē-ən How to pronounce carrion (audio)
: dead and putrefying flesh
Vultures live chiefly on carrion.
also : flesh unfit for food

Examples of carrion in a Sentence

Vultures live chiefly on carrion.
Recent Examples on the Web Most vultures, in contrast, do not hunt for their food and are exclusively attracted to carrion. Emilie Le Beau Lucchesi, Discover Magazine, 31 July 2023 On the island of Sumatra, the flower is pollinated by carrion flies and beetles who are drawn to the stinky smell. Sophie Carson, Journal Sentinel, 14 July 2023 In the wild, smelling like a dead animal helps corpse flowers attract pollinators like carrion beetles and flesh flies, which lay their eggs or larvae in animal carcasses or rotting fruit. Victoria Sayo Turner, Smithsonian Magazine, 7 July 2023 The stench lures pollinating insects that are attracted to carcasses, such as carrion beetles and flies. Kristen Taketa, San Diego Union-Tribune, 3 July 2023 The giant raboon concentrates on the meat of the limbs and neck, leaving the rest to smaller, less powerful carrion feeders. Discover Magazine, 31 May 2018 Scientists also learned the condors’ carrion of choice has changed over the years. Byscience News Staff,, 4 May 2023 Those fundamental dynamics, experts warn, might collapse under the sudden appearance of a thousand times more carrion than an ecosystem is designed to recycle—as in the case of a mass mortality event. Marion Renault, The New Republic, 3 May 2023 The deaths prompted theories that included everything from carrion bugs to spaceships and cult killings, according to the AP. Tim Stelloh, NBC News, 22 Apr. 2023 See More

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

Word History


Middle English caroine, from Anglo-French caroine, charoine, from Vulgar Latin *caronia, irregular from Latin carn-, caro flesh — more at carnal

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of carrion was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near carrion

Cite this Entry

“Carrion.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


car·​ri·​on ˈkar-ē-ən How to pronounce carrion (audio)
: dead and decaying flesh

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