om·​ni·​vore | \ˈäm-ni-ˌvȯr \

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

There are three separate tasting menus: one for omnivores, one for herbivores, and an abbreviated menu for those going to the theater, with beverage pairings included for the first two. Stephanie Burt, Condé Nast Traveler, "28 Best Restaurants in Charleston," 2 May 2018 However, chickens in the wild are omnivores (i.e., not vegetarian) and get most of their protein from worms and insects. Caroline Walder, Good Housekeeping, "Here's Why Eggs Are One of the Best Things You Can Eat," 1 Mar. 2018 Johnny—never John—was one of those sports omnivores who excelled at everything. Jon Wertheim,, "Johnny Bench Is Already a Hall-of-Famer, But He's Looking For a New Distinction," 5 July 2018 Cooking a large piece of meat is an excellent form of self-care for any omnivore, something to cook as a way to celebrate and find strength in your aloneness. Alison Roman, The Cut, "Forget Engagement Chicken. Meet Breakup Steak.," 6 June 2018 The omnivore weighed about 50 pounds and increased in size as the climate became drier and cooler. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "Meet the top 10 new species of 2018," 23 May 2018 The progeny of domestic hogs that quickly turned feral or hybrids between domestic feral pigs and European wild hogs, feral hogs are omnivores with a nondiscriminatory palate. Craig Hlavaty, Houston Chronicle, "The ins and outs of feral hog hunting in Texas," 28 Mar. 2018 And what about the ecological footprint of being a gluttonous omnivore? Vlad Savov, The Verge, "At I/O, Google showed its willingness to change and shape our lives," 9 May 2018 David was an enthusiast and a cultural omnivore: high art, low art, no matter what genre, all of it interested him. Chronicle Staff Report, San Francisco Chronicle, "Bay Area arts community reacts to death of Datebook Editor David Wiegand," 3 May 2018

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

18 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for omnivore

The first known use of omnivore was in 1871

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More Definitions for omnivore



English Language Learners Definition of omnivore

: an animal that eats both plants and other animals


om·​ni·​vore | \ˈäm-ni-ˌvȯr \

Kids Definition of omnivore

: an animal that feeds on plants and other animals

More from Merriam-Webster on omnivore

See words that rhyme with omnivore Encyclopedia article about omnivore

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by force of circumstances

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