om·​ni·​vore | \ ˈäm-ni-ˌvȯr How to pronounce omnivore (audio) \

Definition of omnivore

: one that is omnivorous Bears and coyotes are omnivores.

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The Classic Omnivore

Human beings seem to be classic omnivores. Originally living as "hunter-gatherers", we hunted and fished when possible but also gathered nuts, berries, fruits, seeds, and roots for much of our diet. We're physically well suited for both tasks; our hands are perfect for picking things, and our build is ideal for running down even the fastest game animals because of our great stamina. Some 10,000 years ago humans began practicing agriculture involving both animals and plants. The other omnivorous mammals include chimpanzees, pigs, opossums, porcupines, bears, raccoons, chipmunks, mice and rats, and skunks. But even many mammals classed as carnivorous turn out to be capable of shifting to plant foods when necessary.

Examples of omnivore in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The smaller proportion of herbivores and omnivores may seem surprising, Wiens says, because plants are such a plentiful resource. Eva Frederick, Science | AAAS, "The world’s first animal was probably a carnivore," 30 Aug. 2019 Bees are actually omnivores, and their meat is microbes. Paige Embry, Scientific American, "Surprise: Bees Need Meat," 23 Aug. 2019 Others, including sparrows, with a more varied omnivore diet of insects and fruits and seeds, linger into November. Cori Brown,, "Cori Brown: Nature signals a time to recharge," 7 Sep. 2019 For example, the palm-nut vulture is an omnivore, and considered intermediate between other vultures and fishing eagles. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Vultures will be showcased Labor Day weekend at San Diego Zoo Safari Park," 27 Aug. 2019 Nic Adler, son of music producer Lou and the culinary director of Goldenvoice (the company behind Coachella), knows there are plenty of omnivores who think of vegan food as inedible. Gary Baum, The Hollywood Reporter, "Nic Adler's New Restaurant Has One Rule: Don't Say "Vegan"," 23 Aug. 2019 Which is also the sense one gets listening to the music of St. Vincent, a fearsome sonic sculptor, poet, and aesthetic omnivore who, for all her weirdness, makes music with a modular sensibility. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "Sleater-Kinney Lost Its Chaos Before It Lost Its Drummer," 16 Aug. 2019 On the less expensive end, food carts such as Mis Tacones and Dingers Deli have emerged with vegan nachos and grinders (respectively) worth seeking out, even for omnivores. Michael Russell,, "Plant-based Holiday restaurant will not reopen in downtown Portland," 7 Aug. 2019 Now known as Ngwevu intloko, the omnivore at been sitting in a collection of dinosaurs known as Massospondylus, when researchers reexamined the fossils. Fox News, "New dinosaur identified after 'hiding in plain sight'," 5 Aug. 2019

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

1871, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for omnivore

New Latin omnivora, neuter plural of omnivorus, from Latin

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Statistics for omnivore

Last Updated

4 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for omnivore

The first known use of omnivore was in 1871

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More Definitions for omnivore


How to pronounce omnivore (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of omnivore

technical : an animal that eats both plants and other animals


om·​ni·​vore | \ ˈäm-ni-ˌvȯr How to pronounce omnivore (audio) \

Kids Definition of omnivore

: an animal that feeds on plants and other animals

More from Merriam-Webster on omnivore

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with omnivore Encyclopedia article about omnivore

Comments on omnivore

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


not being in agreement or harmony

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