depredate

verb
dep·​re·​date | \ ˈde-prə-ˌdāt How to pronounce depredate (audio) \
depredated; depredating

Definition of depredate

transitive verb

: to lay waste : plunder, ravage

intransitive verb

: to engage in plunder

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Other Words from depredate

depredation \ ˌde-​prə-​ˈdā-​shən How to pronounce depredate (audio) \ noun
depredator \ ˈde-​prə-​ˌdā-​tər How to pronounce depredate (audio) , di-​ˈpre-​də-​ \ noun
depredatory \ di-​ˈpre-​də-​ˌtȯr-​ē How to pronounce depredate (audio) , ˈde-​pri-​də-​ \ adjective

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Depredate derives primarily from the Latin verb praedari, meaning "to plunder," an ancestor to our words "predator" and "prey." First appearing in English in the 17th century, the word most commonly appears in contexts relating to nature and ecology, where it is often used to describe the methodical, almost automatic destruction of life. That’s how the film critic Stanley Kauffman, for example, summarized the plot of the famous horror movie Jaws (1975): "A killer shark depredates the beach of an island summer resort. Several people are killed. Finally, the shark is killed. That's the story."

First Known Use of depredate

1626, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for depredate

Late Latin depraedatus, past participle of depraedari, from Latin de- + praedari to plunder — more at prey entry 2

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The first known use of depredate was in 1626

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Cite this Entry

“Depredate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/depredate. Accessed 31 Jul. 2021.

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