\ ˈēt How to pronounce eat (audio) \
ate\ ˈāt How to pronounce eat (audio) , dialectal or British  ˈet \; eaten\ ˈē-​tᵊn How to pronounce eat (audio) \; eating

Definition of eat

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to take in through the mouth as food : ingest, chew, and swallow in turn
2a : to destroy, consume, or waste by or as if by eating expenses ate up the profits gadgets that eat up too much space
b : to bear the expense of : take a loss on the team was forced to eat the rest of his contract
3a : 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
2 : to affect something by gradual destruction or consumption usually used with into, away, or at the loss was really eating at herthe controversy ate into his support
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



Definition of eat (Entry 2 of 2)

: something to eat : food usually used in plural

Other Words from eat


eater noun

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,, 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,, 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,, 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The Binders, however, have repurposed this room to serve as a comfortable den that flows effortlessly to the large eat-in kitchen. James Alexander, Hartford Courant, 12 Apr. 2022 Viewers would be advised to do the same: The huskies are in a literal dog-eat-dog situation. Jessica Kiang, Variety, 15 Feb. 2022 These Hartford-area restaurants are serving on Thanksgiving day, some eat-in, some takeout only. Susan Dunne,, 9 Nov. 2021 The new owners can now enjoy the home's eat-in kitchen with dual ovens and sinks, a large family room with a fireplace, an office, a gym, a foyer with 18-foot-high ceilings, and a game room. Hannah Chubb,, 27 Jan. 2022 Mid-century modern fans will appreciate the period details such as the hexagon tile flooring, brick fireplace, built-ins, wood paneling and retro eat-in kitchen. cleveland, 14 Jan. 2022 That's a pinch in the pocketbook for most Americans, who on average eat more than 55 pounds of beef every year — good for second in the world, behind Argentina. Joel Mathis, The Week, 3 Jan. 2022 That’s why obesity is a systems problem and not just a simple eat too much problem. Bruce Y. Lee, Forbes, 25 Dec. 2021 The impressive range of Portia’s tactics is the hallmark of the spider-eat-spider world that arachnids live in. Shi En Kim, Smithsonian Magazine, 27 Oct. 2021 See More

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

First Known Use of eat


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


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for eat


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


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

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Time Traveler for eat

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near eat

easy virtue



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Cite this Entry

“Eat.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for eat


\ ˈēt How to pronounce eat (audio) \
ate\ ˈāt \; eaten\ ˈē-​tᵊn \; eating

Kids Definition of eat

1 : to chew and swallow food
2 : to take a meal Let's eat at home.
3 : to destroy as if by eating : corrode Acids ate away the metal.

Other Words from eat

eater noun


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

Medical Definition of eat

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

More from Merriam-Webster on eat

Nglish: Translation of eat for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of eat for Arabic Speakers


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