her·​biv·​o·​rous | \ ˌ(h)ər-ˈbiv-rəs How to pronounce herbivorous (audio) , -ˈbi-və- \

Definition of herbivorous

: feeding on plants

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Other Words from herbivorous

herbivory \ ˌ(h)ər-​ˈbi-​və-​rē How to pronounce herbivorous (audio) \ 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

Recent Examples on the Web Cleverly organized by the part of the plant—roots, stems, bulbs, fruits, flowers—it’s an arresting collection of special-occasion fare, a herbivorous feast rooted in the flavors of the African diaspora. Helen Rosner, The New Yorker, "The Best Cookbooks of 2020," 15 Dec. 2020 Paleontologists working in southern Australia’s strata have found burrow-like structures from the age of Leaellynasaura, and elsewhere these structures actually contain small, herbivorous dinosaurs. Riley Black, Smithsonian Magazine, "How Dinosaurs Thrived in the Snow," 3 Dec. 2020 Changmiania was herbivorous and would have been a fast, upright runner, despite the other aspects of its physiology that suggested the dinosaur was a proficient digger, reports Lauren Johnson for CNN. Alex Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, "New Species of Burrowing Dinosaur May Have Died During ‘Cretaceous Pompeii’," 24 Sep. 2020 Ankylosaurus magniventris is an ankylosaur—a suborder of four-legged, armored, and mostly herbivorous dinosaurs—but not all ankylosaurs were Ankylosaurus. Amy Mckeever, National Geographic, "Here's what made Ankylosaurus the armored tank of dinosaurs," 22 Sep. 2020 The herbivorous dinosaurs weigh hundreds of tons and migrate in earth-flattening herds; the carnosaurs that prey on them are outsize to match. Tom Shippey, WSJ, "Science Fiction: Dinosaurs, Teens and Office Politics," 19 June 2020 One was Protoceratops, an herbivorous dinosaur the size of a sheep that lived between 71 and 75 million years ago in present-day Mongolia. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "Fossil egg discoveries, including one in Antarctica, show dinosaurs and marine reptiles laid soft-shell eggs," 17 June 2020 While most of the 684 fossil bones with bite marks belonged to herbivorous long-necked dinosaurs called sauropods, 83 were bones that once belonged to theropod dinosaurs—members of a group that included all the carnivorous species. John Pickrell, National Geographic, "This dinosaur may have been a cannibal, gnarly bite marks reveal," 27 May 2020 In some cases the marked bones—particularly those that came from herbivorous dinosaurs—corresponded to body parts that hungry dinos would typically feast on, such as the thigh or organs. Popular Science, "Dinosaur cannibalism was real, and Colorado paleontologists have the bones to prove it," 29 May 2020

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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Time Traveler for herbivorous

Time Traveler

The first known use of herbivorous was in 1661

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Statistics for herbivorous

Last Updated

18 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“Herbivorous.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/herbivorous. Accessed 25 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for herbivorous


her·​biv·​o·​rous | \ ˌhər-ˈbi-və-rəs How to pronounce herbivorous (audio) , ˌər-ˈbi- \

Kids Definition of herbivorous

: feeding on plants


her·​biv·​o·​rous | \ ˌ(h)ər-ˈbiv-ə-rəs How to pronounce herbivorous (audio) \

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

More from Merriam-Webster on herbivorous

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for herbivorous

Nglish: Translation of herbivorous for Spanish Speakers

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