her·​biv·​o·​rous | \ˌ(h)ər-ˈbiv-rəs, -ˈbi-və-\

Definition of herbivorous 

: feeding on plants

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Other Words from herbivorous

herbivory \ ˌ(h)ər-​ˈbi-​və-​rē \ noun

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Many herbivorous animals, such as rabbits, deer, sheep, and cows, are noted for their gentle and passive ways. But such behavior is not universal among herbivores. Rhinoceroses and elephants, for instance, are capable of inflicting serious damage if threatened, and among dinosaurs, the herbivorous Diplodocus had a thick tail that could be used as a lethal weapon against attacking carnivores. Herbivorous humans are usually called vegetarians.

Examples of herbivorous in a Sentence

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Owen considered the animal might have been an insect-eater, breaking open termite nests like an anteater, but it is now known to have been herbivorous in its habits. Smithsonian, "How Darwin’s Theory of Evolution Evolved," 8 May 2018 The report uses four metrics to assess: live coral, fleshy macroalgae, commercial fishing, and herbivorous fish. Brian J. Skerry, National Geographic, "How One Country Is Restoring Its Damaged Ocean," 11 Apr. 2018 The dinosaur, first described in 2015 as a bizarre, herbivorous theropod, is actually a primitive ornithischian, according to the study — a placement that would strengthen the authors’ argument for rewriting the entire family tree. Jon Tennant, Discover Magazine, "What If the Most Basic Thing We Know About Dinosaurs Is Wrong?," 24 Jan. 2018 That may be partly because the carnivores typically spend more energy than animals with herbivorous or mixed diets, pointed out John P. Whiteman of the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, who was not involved in the study. Author: Amina Khan, Anchorage Daily News, "Polar bears burn more calories than thought. Can they survive climate change?," 2 Feb. 2018 Their final list encompassed 253 populations of 36 species of herbivorous mammals — including elephants, giraffes, zebras, hippos and wildebeests — in 126 protected areas throughout Africa. Rachel Nuwer, New York Times, "War’s Other Victims: Animals," 12 Jan. 2018 Overfishing by humans tends to reduce the number of big, herbivorous fish that would otherwise eat the algae and give the reef a chance at rebirth. Jackson Landers, Smithsonian, "These Itsy-Bitsy Herbivores Could Stage a Huge Coral Reef Rescue," 13 Jan. 2017 One possible clue comes from the fact Dr. Thiebot and his collaborators only saw penguins eating carnivorous jellies, not herbivorous ones, like salps. Steph Yin, New York Times, "Who’s Eating Jellyfish? Penguins, That’s Who," 29 Sep. 2017 This one, however, appears to be a herbivorous grass carp, which are stocked in some lakes to control aquatic weeds. ************** Todd Masson can be reached at tmasson@nola.com or 504.232.3054. Todd Masson, NOLA.com, "Texas man rescues live fish displaced by floodwaters," 30 Aug. 2017

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

1661, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for herbivorous

New Latin herbivorus, from Latin herba grass + -vorus -vorous

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herb lily

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Time Traveler for herbivorous

The first known use of herbivorous was in 1661

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More Definitions for herbivorous


her·​biv·​o·​rous | \ˌhər-ˈbi-və-rəs, ˌər-ˈbi-\

Kids Definition of herbivorous

: feeding on plants


her·​biv·​o·​rous | \ˌ(h)ər-ˈbiv-ə-rəs \

Medical Definition of herbivorous 

1 : feeding on plants herbivorous mammals

2 : having a stout body and a long small intestine : endomorphic

Other Words from herbivorous

herbivorously adverb

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