filter feeder


Definition of filter feeder

: an animal (such as a clam or baleen whale) that obtains its food by filtering organic matter or minute organisms from a current of water that passes through some part of its system

Examples of filter feeder in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Microplastics have been found in shellfish, left behind after the filter feeders draw in and expel contaminated water. Jack Fisher, The Seattle Times, "Group screens and cleans sand near Oregon’s Haystack Rock," 20 Aug. 2018 What can kill you: Vibrio vulnificus, a naturally-occurring bacteria found in seawater that can infect people who eat filter feeders such as raw oysters. Bruce Henderson, charlotteobserver, "Summer survival guide: How to stay safe around these NC natural wonders," 25 June 2018 Rather, the broad, bespeckled animal is a filter feeder, harvesting plankton and small fish from the water simply by swimming about with its mouth agape—much like baleen whales. Ryan P. Smith, Smithsonian, "What the Longest Known Whale Shark Migration Ever Tells Us About Conservation," 8 May 2018 The debris entangles and kills all sorts of sea animals, including turtles, dolphins, and whales, and breaks down into microscopic particles that are consumed by fish and filter feeders like mussels and oysters. NBC News, "The Pacific Ocean has a plastic problem. Here's the bold plan to fix it," 21 Apr. 2018 Found worldwide, these slow-moving filter feeders pose no threat to humans. Nick Caloyianis, National Geographic, "Swarms of Huge Sharks Discovered, Baffling Experts," 12 Apr. 2018 Their appendages are used to catch food, making these animals filter feeders. National Geographic, "Mesmerizing Video Shows Swimming Feather Star," 9 Dec. 2016

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'filter feeder.' 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 filter feeder

1928, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about filter feeder

Share filter feeder

Statistics for filter feeder

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for filter feeder

The first known use of filter feeder was in 1928

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on filter feeder

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with filter feeder

Comments on filter feeder

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


a servile follower or underling

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What did you just call me?! A Quiz

  • rows-of-various-emoji
  • If a member of the audience describes your speech as bombastic, does that person mean it is:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!