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

Some were similar to living crocodylians and were primarily carnivorous, others were omnivores and still others likely specialized in plants. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Prehistoric Crocodiles Preferred Plants Over Prey," 28 June 2019 Much of this variety had to do with Paul McCartney’s desire to unleash his inner stylistic omnivore. Allan Kozinn, WSJ, "The Beatles’ Big Ideas Turn 50," 9 Nov. 2018 As omnivores, humans have always depended on our senses to judge what’s edible and what’s not. Bee Wilson, WSJ, "Eating Should Feed All of Our Senses," 2 Nov. 2018 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

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

1 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for omnivore

The first known use of omnivore was in 1871

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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

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