de·​vour di-ˈvau̇(-ə)r How to pronounce devour (audio)
devoured; devouring; devours

transitive verb

: to eat up greedily or ravenously
devoured the turkey and mashed potatoes
: to use up or destroy as if by eating
We are devouring the world's resources.
: to prey upon
devoured by guilt
: to enjoy avidly
devours books
devourer noun

Examples of devour in a Sentence

He devoured everything on his plate. The lions devoured their prey. She devoured every golf magazine she could find. He watched intently, devouring the scene before him with his eyes.
Recent Examples on the Web Some alliances are nothing more than nonaggression pacts that allow predators to devour their prey rather than devouring one another. Hal Brands, Foreign Affairs, 29 Mar. 2024 From Lebanon, Marseille, and Puglia, to Nara, West Africa, and Colombia—not to mention towns across the U.S.— readers have a few months to devour this new issue before the Fall/Winter edition hits stands later this year. Kristin L. Wolfe, Forbes, 28 Mar. 2024 In ancient China, a solar eclipse signaled that the sun was being devoured by a dragon; people would bang drums and make loud noises to scare off the beast and bring back daylight. Dan Falk, Smithsonian Magazine, 13 Mar. 2024 It was being slowly devoured by some enormous bushes of night-blooming jasmine, which clotted the street with their creamy smell. Fiona McFarlane, The New Yorker, 4 Mar. 2024 Artists like Sam Barber, Mae Estes, Dylan Gossett and Wyatt Flores are creating music that is emotional and emotive, and speaks to real-life experiences that fans want to hear and devour right now. Jason Lipshutz, Billboard, 13 Mar. 2024 Those new cells might devour plaque in blood vessels or explore a diseased organ to report back on its condition. Carl Zimmer, New York Times, 10 Mar. 2024 Grab your popcorn and curl up with your favorite fluffy blanket to devour all the glittering drama. Lizz Schumer, Peoplemag, 7 Mar. 2024 All 22 episodes will premiere at once, on March 14, giving new viewers an immediate full plate to devour. Michael Schneider, Variety, 7 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'devour.' 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, from Anglo-French devour-, stem of devorer, from Latin devorare, from de- + vorare to devour — more at voracious

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near devour

Cite this Entry

“Devour.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


de·​vour di-ˈvau̇(ə)r How to pronounce devour (audio)
: to eat up greedily or hungrily
devoured everything on his plate
: to use up or destroy as if by eating
fire devoured the barn
: to enjoy eagerly
devour a book

More from Merriam-Webster on devour

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