car·​ri·​on | \ ˈker-ē-ən How to pronounce carrion (audio) , ˈka-rē-\

Definition of carrion

: 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

Some deepwater sharks are primarily known from submersibles, such as the giant sixgill shark, which feeds mainly on carrion but probably also preys on other animals in the deep sea. Gavin Naylor, The Conversation, "Shark Week looms, but don’t panic," 25 July 2019 The California condor is North America’s largest bird, a powerful (if not conventionally beautiful) creature that feasts on carrion and can soar to heights of 15,000 feet. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "The California Condor Nearly Went Extinct. Now, the 1000th Chick of a Recovery Program Has Hatched.," 22 July 2019 So snapping turtles do eat a lot of carrion, a lot of dead things — dead fish, dead frog, what have you. Tim Evans, Indianapolis Star, "Snapping turtles: 5 things you need to know," 14 July 2019 Lead ammunition, when consumed in carcasses by carrion-eating birds such as the California condor, bald eagle and others, can cause sickness and death, according to the Department of Fish and Wildlife. Tom Stienstra,, "California hunters face nation’s first lead ammo ban," 16 June 2019 And a good percentage of coyotes’ diet is carrion; the fawns coyotes often are blamed for killing may well have succumbed to an unrelated misadventure. Shannon Tompkins,, "Meet the coyote, one of nature’s great tricksters," 13 June 2019 Ravens are associated with carrion — and so with battlefields and execution grounds. William Booth, The Seattle Times, "The secrets of the royal ravenmaster at the Tower of London," 26 Oct. 2018 Late-night comedians pecked at the news like vultures on carrion. Michael J. Mooney, Popular Mechanics, "Is RadioShack Back?," 1 Apr. 2016 In the corpse flower, the volatile odor is dispersed by the heat the flower generates as the phallus-like bloom emerges, attracting carrion beetles and similar connoisseurs. New York Times, "Why Is the Corpse Flower So Stinky?," 6 July 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of carrion

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for carrion

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about carrion

Statistics for carrion

Last Updated

8 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for carrion

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for carrion



English Language Learners Definition of carrion

: the flesh of dead animals


car·​ri·​on | \ ˈker-ē-ən How to pronounce carrion (audio) \

Kids Definition of carrion

: dead and decaying flesh

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on carrion

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with carrion

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for carrion

Spanish Central: Translation of carrion

Nglish: Translation of carrion for Spanish Speakers

Comments on carrion

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


authorized for issue (as a bond)

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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