for·​age | \ ˈfȯr-ij How to pronounce forage (audio) , ˈfär- \

Definition of forage

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : food for animals especially when taken by browsing or grazing The grass serves as forage for livestock.
2 [forage entry 2] : the act of foraging : search for provisions They made forages to find food.


foraged; foraging

Definition of forage (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to strip of provisions : collect forage from
2 : to secure by foraging foraged a chicken for the feast

intransitive verb

1 : to wander in search of forage or food
2 : to secure forage (as for horses) by stripping the country
4 : to make a search : rummage

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Other Words from forage


forager noun

Synonyms for forage

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of forage in a Sentence

Noun The grass serves as forage for livestock. Verb The cows were foraging in the pasture. He had to forage for firewood.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun That decline has coincided with changes in the big lake’s ecosystem, including clearer water, more invasive species such as zebra mussels, and declines in forage species such as tullibees. Deanna Weniger, Twin Cities, "Walleye fishing on Mille Lacs to close Sept. 6 to give fish a chance to recoup," 26 Aug. 2019 When feeding on land, some species will squawk out rallying chirps, asking their comrades to help them forage for food, study author Pierre Pistorius, a biologist at Nelson Mandela University, tells New Scientist. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian Magazine, "In a First, Researchers Record Penguins Vocalizing Under Water," 23 Mar. 2020 First the habitat shrinks, then the forage, then the population. Matt Wyatt,, "Airlifts have Texas pronghorn on the rise," 13 Feb. 2020 From an early age, children are allowed to interact with the tools adults use to work, forage, and hunt, often with no parental supervision. Colin Barras, Science | AAAS, "Playing with tools—and weapons—was a ‘normal’ part of prehistoric childhood," 18 Dec. 2019 The developers’ proposals included the construction of a berm between the housing complex and a meadow where bighorns forage, limited lighting and restricted dog ownership. Bruce Finley, The Denver Post, "Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep advocates sue over plans to build Vail worker housing on animals’ habitat," 15 Nov. 2019 Backers include the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and American Farm Bureau Federation, which have pushed for the slaughter of excess horses that compete for forage with livestock grazing on U.S. lands. Washington Post, "Push to accelerate mustang captures draws fire in Congress," 12 Dec. 2019 Federal biologists have said the primary threat to the lizard is oil and gas development near the dunes and oak removal stemming from the need for more forage for grazing. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Lizard protections sought in Southwest amid US oil boom," 1 Oct. 2019 The state stocks about 8,000 brown trout every spring, which provide sport for anglers and forage for hungry bass. Joseph Albanese, Outdoor Life, "13 of the Best Public Lands Near Big Cities," 9 Mar. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb And at Engare Sero, just south of Tanzania’s Lake Natron, 408 footprints reveal how an ancient group of hunter-gatherers foraged. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Footprints capture a lakeside stroll by a group of ancient hunter-gatherers," 18 May 2020 This suggests that labor was divided up based on gender in ancient human communities, with the women foraging while the men accompanied them. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "Hundreds of fossilized human footprints found in Africa could reveal ancient traditions," 14 May 2020 First, the uncontrolled populations of elk and deer, feeling the threat of a new predator, stopped overgrazing the low grasslands and started foraging higher in the hills. Matt Thompson, The Atlantic, "Surviving This Pandemic Isn’t Enough," 10 May 2020 Harvey Lillywhite, a physiological ecologist at the University of Florida, and his students have noticed male and female cottonmouth snakes pairing off for long periods and foraging together. Elizabeth Pennisi, Science | AAAS, "Garter snakes are surprisingly social, forming ‘friendships’ with fellow serpents," 4 May 2020 An additional chapter details foraging edible plants near the water’s edge. Paul Stephen,, "The only cookbook and guide to Texas seafood you’ll ever need: ‘Texas Seafood: A Cookbook and Comprehensive Guide’," 4 Mar. 2020 In the years since, Robinson has begun foraging wildflowers and also developed relationships with public gardens which allow her to pick their flowers. Hadley Keller, House Beautiful, "In the Studio With Ronni Robinson, Who Creates Unique Art With Fresh Flowers," 5 Mar. 2020 Whales that fed on these prey resources could forage efficiently and predictably, allowing them to grow larger. Jeremy Goldbogen, The Conversation, "Why are whales big, but not bigger?," 12 Dec. 2019 These critters foraged in the palm forests that replaced the ferns. Elizabeth Pennisi, Science | AAAS, "How life blossomed after the dinosaurs died," 24 Oct. 2019

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

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First Known Use of forage


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for forage

Noun and Verb

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from fuerre, foer fodder, straw, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German fuotar food, fodder — more at food

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Time Traveler for forage

Time Traveler

The first known use of forage was in the 14th century

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Statistics for forage

Last Updated

3 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Forage.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for forage


How to pronounce forage (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of forage

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: grasses and other plants that are eaten by animals (such as cows)



English Language Learners Definition of forage (Entry 2 of 2)

of an animal : to eat growing grass or other plants
: to search for something (such as food or supplies)


for·​age | \ ˈfȯr-ij How to pronounce forage (audio) \

Kids Definition of forage

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: food (as grass) for browsing or grazing animals


foraged; foraging

Kids Definition of forage (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to nibble or eat grass or other plants Cows foraged in the field.
2 : search entry 1 sense 1 We foraged for firewood.

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More from Merriam-Webster on forage

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for forage

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with forage

Spanish Central: Translation of forage

Nglish: Translation of forage for Spanish Speakers

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