eat

1 of 2

verb

ate ˈāt How to pronounce eat (audio)
 dialectal or British  ˈet
; eaten ˈē-tᵊn How to pronounce eat (audio) ; eating; eats

transitive verb

1
: to take in through the mouth as food : ingest, chew, and swallow in turn
2
a
: to destroy, consume, or waste by or as if by eating
Marketing expenses were eating into the profits.
gadgets that eat up too much space
tides eating away the shoreline
b
: to bear the expense of : take a loss on
The team was forced to eat the rest of his contract.
3
a
: to consume gradually : corrode
cars eaten away by rust
b
: to consume with vexation : bother
What's eating you now?
4
: to enjoy eagerly or avidly : lap
used with up
It was an amazing performance and the crowd ate it up.
5
usually vulgar : to perform fellatio or cunnilingus on
often used with out

intransitive verb

1
: to take food or a meal see also eat up
2
: to affect something by gradual destruction or consumption
usually used with into, away, or at
The loss was really eating at her.
The controversy ate into his support.
eater noun
plural eaters

eat

2 of 2

noun

: something to eat : food
usually used in plural
Phrases
eat alive
: to defeat, conquer, or overwhelm completely : crush
was eaten alive by the competition
eat one out of house and home
: to consume more than one can easily provide or afford
eat one's heart out
1
: to grieve bitterly
2
: to be jealous
eat one's words
: to retract what one has said
eat out of one's hand
: to accept the domination of another
eat someone's lunch
: to deprive of profit, dominance, or success

Examples of eat in a Sentence

Verb You'll feel better if you eat something. I ate a big breakfast so I'm not very hungry. They like to eat at home.
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
Eating it: Some folks spoon directly into their mouths. Ann Maloney, NOLA.com, 19 July 2017 New this year to True Nature is a retreat for those with eating disorders and their family members. Plain Dealer Guest Writer, cleveland.com, 19 July 2017 However hot dogs may have originated, the council estimates Americans will eat 7 billion of them between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day. Don Sweeney, sacbee, 19 July 2017 In fact, a recent survey showed that 36% of Chick-fil-A dinner customers take their meal to go from restaurants to eat at home. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, 19 July 2017 The casual restaurant and bar also offers an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet at 8 a.m. Sundays. Vickie Snow Jurkowski, Daily Southtown, 19 July 2017 Miami was last in the NFL at 57 plays per game last season partly because the offense didn’t convert effectively on third downs, but also because the porous run defense allowed opponents to eat up the clock. Chris Perkins, Sun-Sentinel.com, 19 July 2017 Parents and their children can bring a lunch to eat during the program. Michelle Mullins, Naperville Sun, 18 July 2017 Hammerhead worms contain the same toxin as blowfish and can be harmful if eaten. Liz Langley, National Geographic, 15 July 2017
Noun
Peel and eat shrimp: Seafood lovers can't go wrong with the peel-and-eat shrimp from Voyager. Susan Selasky, Detroit Free Press, 29 Mar. 2024 Tourists often miss out on the street food, and there are lots of affordable eats, like Burger Tiger and Vege Dub (vegetarian and vegan street food—and don’t forget the smoothies)—two of Vuković’s favorite stops when seeking something fast and casual. Jenn Rice, Forbes, 28 Mar. 2024 That said, taco lovers still crave a night out in that funky, taco-truck style restaurant, which GQ named the most popular restaurant in Florida for late-night eats. Connie Ogle, Miami Herald, 30 Jan. 2024 Frankie’s Italian Trattoria: An Italian spot with outdoor seating in Maggie Valley, North Carolina, Frankie’s has a full bar and a menu with eats like lasagna, pizza, and veal marsala. Evie Carrick, Travel + Leisure, 5 Mar. 2024 Also celebrating the Chief’s historic win with some good eats was star tight end Travis Kelce. Bailey Richards, Peoplemag, 12 Feb. 2024 Plus, her travels in countries like Peru and Colombia, and insider tips for tracking down the best eats in a new city. Cnt Editors, Condé Nast Traveler, 25 Jan. 2024 This case of dog eat dog is not surprising, Getz told me. Peter Vanham, Fortune, 4 Jan. 2024 Grab a picnic table under the towering oak trees, let the kids run around, and enjoy the serene vibes, spectacular setting, and delicious eats. Terry Ward, Travel + Leisure, 25 Feb. 2024

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

Word History

Etymology

Verb

Middle English eten, from Old English etan; akin to Old High German ezzan to eat, Latin edere, Greek edmenai

Noun

Middle English et, from Old English ǣt; akin to Old High German āz food; derivative from the root of eat entry 1

First Known Use

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of eat was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near eat

Cite this Entry

“Eat.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/eat. Accessed 13 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

eat

verb
ˈēt
ate
ˈāt
; eaten
ˈēt-ᵊn
; eating
1
: to take into the mouth and swallow food : chew and swallow in turn
2
: to have a meal
eat at home
3
: to destroy as if by eating : wear away
rocks eaten away by waves
4
: to affect something by destroying or using up bit by bit
acid eating into metal
5
: to enjoy with excitement
the audience ate the show up
eater noun

Medical Definition

eat

verb
ate
ˈāt, chiefly British ˈet
; eaten ˈēt-ᵊn How to pronounce eat (audio) ; eating

transitive verb

1
: to take in through the mouth as food : ingest, chew, and swallow in turn
2
: to consume gradually : corrode

intransitive verb

: to take food or a meal

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