fruit bat


Definition of fruit bat

: any of a family (Pteropodidae of the suborder Megachiroptera) of often large tropical and subtropical Old World bats that feed on ripe fruit, pollen, and nectar and that usually use visual navigation rather than echolocation

called also flying fox

Illustration of fruit bat

Illustration of fruit bat

fruit bat with fruit

Examples of fruit bat in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Richard Dolbeer was once the man to call if millions of blackbirds or fruit bats were ravaging your fields. Brendan I. Koerner, Wired, "It's a Bird! It's a Plane! The Midair Collisions Menacing Air Travel," 24 Jan. 2020 Officials inspect a well to to catch bats at Changaroth in Kozhikode in the Indian state of Kerala on May 21, 2018, during an outbreak of the deadly Nipah virus carried mainly by fruit bats. Katie Hunt, CNN, "Bats, the source of so many viruses, could be the origin of Wuhan coronavirus, say experts," 29 Jan. 2020 Genetic analysis suggests the new coronavirus originated in fruit bats, according to China’s Centre for Disease Control and Prevention. Michael J. Coren, Quartz, "China says the Wuhan virus, unlike SARS, is infectious during its incubation period," 26 Jan. 2020 The park is the only one in the U.S. that is home to the Samoan fruit bat, according to the U.S. Mint. Sarah Brookbank,, "Yes, you can actually get a quarter with a bat on it this year," 10 Jan. 2020 Some of the exhibition’s most stunning wildlife paintings feature fruit bats, likely rendered by an artist in the circle of Bhawani Das. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian, "London Exhibit Celebrates Indian Artists Who Captured Natural History for the East India Company," 4 Dec. 2019 Visit Bat Island As dusk approaches, boats of all kinds begin to gather around tiny Koaba Island (aka Kalong, or Bat, Island) to watch a nightly occurrence: the emergence of thousands of fruit bats from the island’s mangroves. Amy Alipio, National Geographic, "How to go beyond the dragons in Komodo National Park," 16 May 2019 There's still more research to be done on exactly how these outbreaks start, but scientists suspect Old World fruit bats that carry the disease may be at least in part be to blame. Jen Christensen, CNN, "Climate crisis raises risk of more Ebola outbreaks," 15 Oct. 2019 Back in 2011, elephants enjoyed their Halloween treats, as did the fruit bats, who munched on the pumpkins while hanging upside down. Benjamin Vanhoose,, "Disney's Animal Kingdom Continues Cute Jack-O'-Lantern Tradition With Animals for Halloween," 31 Oct. 2019

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

1877, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about fruit bat

Time Traveler for fruit bat

Time Traveler

The first known use of fruit bat was in 1877

See more words from the same year

Statistics for fruit bat

Last Updated

19 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Fruit bat.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Feb. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for fruit bat

fruit bat


English Language Learners Definition of fruit bat

: a large bat that eats fruit and lives in hot parts of the world

More from Merriam-Webster on fruit bat

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with fruit bat Encyclopedia article about fruit bat

Comments on fruit bat

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


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

More Confusing Words—Quiz

  • cats on impossible timber
  • The magician ______ moved the selected card to the top of the deck.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


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!