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

Definition of herbivorous

: feeding on plants

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from herbivorous

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

Did You Know?

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 Plant food can be abrasive, wearing down teeth quickly, and so herbivorous dinosaurs required a constantly renewed supply. Riley Black, Smithsonian, "Flesh-Ripping Dinosaurs Replaced Their Teeth Multiple Times a Year," 28 Nov. 2019 Birds that ate insects or other animals also fared worse than their herbivorous, seed-eating cousins, the scientists found. Los Angeles Times, "To survive global warming, Mojave Desert birds will need a lot more water — and they probably won’t get it," 4 Oct. 2019 Egan's lab specializes in studying herbivorous insects that feed on live oaks trees across the Gulf Coast. Rebecca Hennes, Houston Chronicle, "Why the Texas Medical Center is inundated with venomous caterpillars," 17 Sep. 2019 Moa, giant ground-dwelling birds that went extinct soon after humans arrived in New Zealand, were herbivorous. Jenny Howard, National Geographic, "This toddler-size parrot was a prehistoric oddity," 6 Aug. 2019 This suggests that an herbivorous crocodyliform was successful in a variety of environments. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Prehistoric Crocodiles Preferred Plants Over Prey," 28 June 2019 The femur bone is over six feet long and is thought to have belonged to a sauropod -- a subgroup of herbivorous, long-necked and four-legged dinosaurs common in the Jurassic era. Leah Asmelash And Brian Ries, CNN, "New bone, who dis? Paleontologists say this femur belongs to one of the biggest dinosaurs of all time," 26 July 2019 Their analysis revealed that half of the species examined were likely at least partially herbivorous, while some were probably insectivorous and others were strictly herbivores. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Prehistoric Crocodiles Preferred Plants Over Prey," 28 June 2019 Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming America’s version of the Serengeti Plains features an array of large mammals, from apex predators like the grizzly bear and wolf to herbivorous herds of bison, elk, and pronghorn antelope. Joe Yogerst, National Geographic, "Top 10 wildlife encounters in parks," 9 Apr. 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about herbivorous

Time Traveler for herbivorous

Time Traveler

The first known use of herbivorous was in 1661

See more words from the same year

Statistics for herbivorous

Last Updated

5 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Herbivorous.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/herbivorous. Accessed 20 January 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on herbivorous

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with herbivorous

Spanish Central: Translation of herbivorous

Nglish: Translation of herbivorous for Spanish Speakers

Comments on herbivorous

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


not to be intimidated or subdued

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Eponym Quiz

  • rubens painting
  • Which is the best synonym of bowdlerize?
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!